On November 11, former Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyoming) made an appearance at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. The event, titled “In Conversation with Liz Cheney,” focused on Cheney’s ongoing campaign against challenging electoral results, her rise as vice chair and face of the January 6th Committee, and the fizzling out of the expected “Red Wave” during the recent midterm elections, for which she claimed credit at the event to thunderous applause. Three members of the Thinker attended the event and had the opportunity to question Cheney about her recent political activities and involvement.
Cheney was one of two Republicans on the January 6th Committee, along with Adam Kinzinger (R., Illinois). Cheney joined the committee in summer 2021 after the House Republican Conference revoked by voice vote her status as chair, a position occupied by the third-ranking House Republican. Cheney’s ousting and replacement by Representative Elise Stefanik (R., New York) stemmed from her continuous criticism of former President Donald Trump and his allies.
When asked by Thinker staff writer Arthur Long about democracy “surely [meaning] that we the people … are the ones who choose who will sit in the Oval Office,” and how that is “consistent” with her zero-tolerance position on a potential second term for the former president, Cheney responded, stating that “democracy can’t survive a president willing to blow through all the guardrails of that democracy.” She went on to claim that she is a more conservative member of Congress and that her outspokenness does not stem from disagreements in policy.
One of Cheney’s foremost concerns and talking points are the former President’s refusal to honestly accept his 2020 presidential election defeat, his denouncement of the electoral system and its implementation, and his involvement, or lack thereof, in the Capitol riots on January 6th, 2020. Given Cheney’s repeated emphasis on accepting election results, her collaboration with members of the January 6th Committee, some of whom objected to the 2016 election results, claiming disprovenforeign collusion among other factors, came into question as hypocritical.
When Thinker editor John Kolettis asked her “how do you justify your collaboration with … January 6th Committee members who rejected the 2016 election,” Cheney avoided the question, opting instead to emphasize the committee as “the most nonpartisan committee I’ve ever served on.” This assertion is contestable at best, as the committee consists of seven Democrats—including Jamie Raskin (D., Maryland), who attempted to challenge the electoral vote count during the Electoral College vote certification in 2017—and only two Republicans, both of whom House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., California) handpicked.
In the most recent midterm election, however, Cheney lost her Republican primary to Harriet Hageman, largely due to her stance against Trump and his faction. During that campaign, Cheney chose to campaign with her father Richard ‘Dick’ Cheney, former vice president and notable Trump critic. In one of her campaign ads, former Vice President Cheney accused Trump of not being a “real man” because he chose to “lie to his supporters.”
Thinker associate publisher Mitchell Robson questioned her about Mr. Cheney’s comments, asking specifically about the former vice president’s role in propagating “discredited or disputed” narratives to “justify a bloody war with Iraq.” Rep. Cheney responded by characterizing the question as a mere matter of policy disputes and revisionism on the relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
Cheney then attempted to differentiate between the justification of the Iraq War and “a president who’s attempting to undermine the Constitution.” Nowhere within the answer, however, did she acknowledge the falsehoods propagated to engage and continue with the war in Iraq that Robson outlined. In fact, she gave misleading answers at best in her response to Robson, confusing two different terrorists in the process, despite her supposed expertise in the subject. Robson’s question has gained over one hundred thousand views on Twitter across two different accounts.
See the full session with Rep. Cheney on YouTube below: