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Republican Party must choose between Trump and the Constitution, Liz Cheney says in California speech

Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Warning that America faces a "domestic threat we have never faced before," GOP Rep. Liz Cheney on Wednesday accused Republicans who ignore former President Trump's efforts to overturn the presidential election of being derelict in their duty to preserve the constitutional republic.

Cheney's remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley were equally lacerating about the former president and the GOP — a broadside against her own party coming, ironically, at the monument to the late president who championed the so-called 11th commandment: that Republicans should not attack fellow Republicans.

After denouncing Republican leaders and elected officials for making themselves "willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man," the Wyoming congresswoman offered a blunt assessment of the decision awaiting the GOP.

"We have to choose, because Republicans cannot be loyal to Donald Trump and to the Constitution," she said.

The enthusiastically received address came at a moment when Cheney's profile has never been higher, and her estrangement from most of the GOP has never been more acute.

Cheney's persistent condemnation of Trump since the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot has cost her a leadership post within the House Republican Conference and potentially her seat, as she faces a well-funded and Trump-endorsed opponent in her August primary.

 

As vice chair of the House committee investigating the siege on the Capitol, Cheney has used her perch to issue scathing pronouncements about Republicans' fealty to Trump, further deepening the rift with her party.

In one memorable line in the panel's opening hearing, Cheney directly addressed GOP colleagues who "are defending the indefensible," telling them, "There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain."

Cheney's speech Wednesday was part of the library's "A Time for Choosing" program on the future of the Republican Party, which has featured rising stars and potential 2024 presidential contenders, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Although those others in the series have largely avoided extended commentary on Trump, the former president was a central focus of Cheney's remarks.

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