Published May 4, 2021
Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) is purportedly again at risk of losing her position as House Republican Conference chair, the third-ranking member of the House GOP leadership. For most Republicans, the reason is that she crossed President Donald Trump in voting for his impeachment, but that shouldn’t be the case. Far more important is that she is out of step with Republican ideology.
Cheney has been harshly criticized because she has bravely refused to stay silent over Trump’s outrageous post-election comments and behavior. Her vote to impeach Trump over his contribution to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was, in hindsight, merely the opening salvo in this ongoing war. She has since refused to let go of the matter, even in the presence of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has tried to finesse the party’s relationship with Trump. She also vociferously rebutted Trump’s statement on Monday that the election was stolen, tweeting that his “BIG LIE” is “poisoning our democratic system.” She went on to state at a closed-door conservative confab that Trump’s actions that instigated the riot were “a line that cannot be crossed.”
On this, her colleagues should be defending her to the hilt. Trump’s continued lies about election fraud should be called out; indeed, Republicans should be actively dismantling them. There is no evidence that mass voting by mail allowed Democrats to flood the election with fraudulent ballots. Nor is there evidence to support repeated claims that Democrat-controlled election boards in party bastions such as Atlanta or Missoula, Mont., counted thousands of fraudulent ballots. Mass fraud is usually easy to detect because it almost always results in a clear break in patterns without explanation. That wasn’t the case. If anything, Cheney should be more vocal and detailed in her defense of democracy, not less.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.