Liz Cheney Tells Sarasota Audience to Fear Trump

Todays News

Photo courtesy RCLA: Liz Cheney speaks to media.

Before Liz Cheney served in Congress herself, she volunteered for years for her father Dick Cheney’s Republican’s campaigns. She recalls watching the recount in Florida in 2000, which decided the presidential election and made her father vice president. While the outcome was contentious and the fight emotional, it struck her even then when Democrat Al Gore conceded on national television.

“He knew he was disappointed, his supporters were disappointed, but that disappointment had to be overcome by love of country,” she recalled.

Over the next few weeks, the Bill Clinton administration transitioned into the Bush administration. It had all occurred before and would again, until the end of Donald Trump’s term.

Following a bitter loss to Democrat Joe Biden, Trump called for his supporters to march on the Capitol, then refused to attend Biden’s inauguration, and for the first time ever since the creation of nuclear codes, there was no handoff from one military aide to another.

During a sold-out lecture as part of the Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall series, Cheney focused much of her time on her concern about Trump’s continued involvement in U.S. politics. That’s largely the subject of her new book, Oath and Honor. She also discussed concerns ahead of the speech during a media roundtable at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

The House GOP Conference Leader during much of Trump’s presidency, Cheney felt surprised at how long Trump resisted the outcome of the 2020 election. It didn’t surprise her he tried to exhaust legal options to challenge the election, as Gore had done decades before. Instead, he maintains to this day the election was stolen, as he makes a third White House run.

Cheney’s visit in Sarasota came the morning after Trump emerged as the clear victor of the Iowa caucuses, the first delegate-awarding contest on the 2024 election cycle. But she noted Trump even running effectively as a GOP incumbent failed to win more than about half the vote in Iowa.

“I think it tells you that he's beatable, and we've got to beat him. But again, it's going to be, I think, a long, long battle,” she said. “It's going to be a battle all the way until November, I would imagine.”

Cheney also discussed the state of Congress. She lost her own seat in 2022 in a Wyoming primary after Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and others supported her opponent. That came after Cheney voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and served as Vice Chair of the Jan. 6 Committee.

Republicans also won a narrow House majority in 2022, securing McCarthy the Speaker’s gavel, though he would hold it less than a year before a group of pro-Trump representatives ousted him. “What we saw with Kevin McCarthy was a willingness to placate and enable and embrace Donald Trump but also some of the most extremist voices within the Republican conference,” she said.

She said McCarthy showed a dangerous willingness to spread Trump’s lies about the presidential election. But she also holds distaste for new Speaker Mike Johnson, who rallied representatives to join a legal challenge of the 2020 election.

“He's a dangerous player in all of this as well,” she said of Johnson. “And I think the fact that just within the last 10 days or so, he's been unwilling to say that Joe Biden won the 2020 election shows that.”

Photo courtesy RCLA: Liz Cheney speaks to media.

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