While it might appear that the GOP is imploding under the weight of Trumpism, and Rep. Liz Cheney seems to be a lone rebel who refuses to endorse the idea that the 2020 election was stolen or there was widespread voter fraud and that Donald Trump was responsible for the January 6 insurrection, she is far from the only dissenting voice emerging from the Republican Party.
The U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 16th congressional district, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, has come out saying that he warned House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that the Republican Party was courting violence in the days preceding the Capitol riot and added that Cheney should be lauded for her consistency in refusing to pander to Trump’s and his acolyte’s insistence that Biden stole the election.
Daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney has served as the U.S. Representative for Wyoming’s at-large congressional district since 2017 and she is the current occupant of the House Republican Conference chair but if McCarthy and his ilk have their way, Cheney will soon be ousted from that position to be replaced by Elise Stefanik, the U.S. Representative for New York’s 21st congressional district since 2015, and self proclaimed Trump loyalist.
Kinzinger firmly believes that there is one reason for Cheney’s ousting and one reason alone, stating “Liz is being chased out for one thing. Not for going after the president. … She’s been run out for one thing — her consistency. She said the same exact thing that Kevin McCarthy said on January 6, which is Donald Trump is responsible.” Kinzinger was also quick to point out the blatant hypocrisy displayed by the House Minority Leader.
The day after the January 6 insurrection, which injured 140 people and caused the death of five, McCarthy stood on the floor of the House and although he said he would not vote to impeach President Trump, he did add, “The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action of President Trump.” A statement not too far from exactly what Cheney was saying.
However, the stark difference between Cheney and McCarthy is that when the House Minority Leader realized that his party was not going to relegate the one term, divisive, former president, to the history books, he was quick to rewrite his own. And before the ink was even dry, McCarthy went on “Fox News Sunday” and told host Chris Wallace this new version of recent history of how Trump “didn’t see” the rioters overtaking the Capitol building, despite Trump being a voracious consumer of cable news and it being on every channel.
The strategy from McCarthy seems to be a neck saving tactic as, let us not forget, even after the deadly insurrection left a nasty stain on American democracy, almost 150 Republicans still voted to object to the Electoral College results. Instead of building towards fighting the 2024 presidential election, large swathes of the GOP are too busy contesting the last one, and this seems to be the hill McCarthy has chosen to politically die on.
And that Trump hill looks to be a somewhat permanent fixture on the horizon of the GOP moving forward if recent polls are to be believed. While 60% of American’s do believe President Joe Biden won the 2020 election fair and square, a worrying 60% of Republicans believe Trump’s claims that Biden’s win was due to widespread voter fraud despite all their legal challenges being thrown out, sometimes laughed out, of courts across the land and no evidence whatsoever manifesting despite many on the right insisting they had proof.
A vast majority of Republicans seem to be creating their own alternate reality with 80% of them still having a positive view of the former president, and six in 10 believe he should run for president again in 2024. However, if the polling of Republican voters is also to be believed, his grip might be slipping as a new poll suggests that among registered voters, 32% had a favorable view of the former president, while 55% had an unfavorable view.
If the vote to oust Cheney, the highest-ranking Republican woman in Washington, is successful, many within the party are warning of the dire consequences of doing so, such as former presidential hopeful Sen. Mitt Romney who tweeted, “Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few.” What happens to Cheney in the next few days will be a litmus test for the direction the GOP wishes to take, and a definitive answer to the question ‘To Trump or not to Trump’.