Rep. Liz Cheney isn’t backing down from her criticism of former President Donald Trump after she was ousted from her post as the third-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. When asked directly, Cheney said she regretted voting for Trump last year, even if she wouldn’t have supported the Democratic candidate. “I mean, look, I was never going to support Joe Biden, and I do regret the vote,” she said on ABC’s This Week. “I think that it was a vote based on policy, based on, sort of, substance and what I know in terms of the kinds of policies he put forward that were good for the country, but that I—I think it is fair to say I regret the vote.”
Cheney also criticized her fellow party members saying it was “indefensible” that some Republicans were trying to play down the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. “The notion that this was somehow a tourist event is disgraceful and despicable,” Cheney said. “I won’t be part of whitewashing what happened on January 6. Nobody should be a part of it and people ought to be held accountable.” She also said that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy should be subpoenaed if he isn’t willing to voluntarily testify about what Trump told him the day of the riot. “He’s got information about the president’s state of mind that day,” she said.
Cheney also said that the way her colleagues chose Rep. Elise Stefanik, a staunch ally of Trump, to take her leadership spot illustrates the “dangerous” direction her party is taking. “I think it’s dangerous,” she said. “I think that, that we have to recognize how quickly things can unravel. We have to recognize what it means for the nation to have a former president who has not conceded and who continues to suggest that our electoral system cannot function, cannot do the will of the people.”
On Fox News Sunday, Cheney said she considers both McCarthy and Stefanik “complicit” in spreading Trump’s lies about the election. “I’m not willing to do that,” she said. “I think that there are some things that have to be bigger than party, that have to be bigger than partisanship.” Cheney said on ABC she doesn’t think all that many Republican lawmakers actually believe Trump’s claims about the 2020 election. “I think it’s a relatively small number,” she said. Speaking on Fox News, Stefanik accused Cheney of “looking backwards” at a time when “Republicans are looking forward.” Trump, Stefanik said, will continue to be “an important voice” in the GOP. “He’s critical to the party. He’s the leader of the Republican Party,” she said. “Voters determine the leader of the Republican Party and they continue to look to President Trump for his vision and he’s going to be important part of us winning the back the House in 2022.”
Support work like this for just $1
Slate is covering the stories that matter to you. Become a Slate Plus member to support our work. Your first month is only $1.