Shortly after Liz Cheney voted to impeach Donald Trump, the third Republican in the House of Representatives received a harsh reprimand from the party leadership in her home state of Wyoming.
“The wind in Wyoming was horrible today with gusts of up to 65 miles per hour [but] it is nothing compared to the whirlwind created by Representative Cheney, ”said the Wyoming Republican Party.
Ten Republicans joined Democrats on January 13 to vote to impeach Mr. Trump for instigating an assault on Capitol Hill on January 6. has become the main target of the president’s most vocal supporters in Congress.
Jim Jordan, the Congressman from Ohio who helped dethrone John Boehner as Speaker of the Republican House in 2015, urged the party to oust Ms. Cheney from her role as Speaker of the House Republican Conference.
Ahead of her vote, Ms. Cheney said Mr. Trump called the crowd and “lit the flame” of the attack. She added that there had “never been a greater betrayal” by a president of his oath to the constitution.
But for her detractors, it was she who betrayed her president. The Wyoming Gun Owners Association called the fiercely conservative daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney a “liberal Liz.”
Ms Cheney defended her decision as a “vote of conscience” amid the most serious crisis since the civil war, and rejected calls for her resignation, saying “I’m not going anywhere.”
His attack on Mr. Trump and after Accused The vote bolstered Ms. Cheney’s national profile, potentially positioning her as a future Republican flag bearer if the party decided to break with the incumbent president and his nationalist agenda.
However, William Kristol, a conservative critic of Mr Trump who has known her for years, said he believed Ms Cheney had voted with her conscience and was not making a calculated bet until a possible presidential election in 2024.
“She felt it had gone so far that she stopped calculating and decided to do what was right,” Mr Kristol said.
On most issues over the past four years, Ms. Cheney has backed Mr. Trump. But last year, the former State Department official criticized some of his foreign policy decisions, including plans to withdraw troops from Germany and Afghanistan. And in June, as Mr. Trump continued to refuse to wear a mask, she tweeted a picture of his father wearing a covering face with the caption, “Dick Cheney says he wears a mask. #realmenwearmasks. “
On January 6, as Congress convened to confirm the election result, Ms. Cheney was urging her fellow Republicans not to try to overturn the result when Mr. Trump targeted her.
“The Liz Cheneys of the world. . . we have to get rid of it, ”he said in a heated speech, which was accused of inciting the pro-Trump mob that attacked the US Capitol.
On the day of the impeachment vote, Ms. Cheney did not speak during the debate in the House of Representatives. But his fierce criticism of the president has been cited repeatedly by Democrats as they pleaded for accusing the outgoing president of “inciting insurgency.”
“It was truly a courageous vote on his part and clearly out of conviction,” said Brendan Boyle, a Democrat from Philadelphia.
A person who knows Ms Cheney said she was always deliberate and never pulled from the hip. But for Ms Cheney, who has been discussed as a future president and presidential candidate, the question is whether she will face a main challenge from a pro-Trump Republican in 2022.
Anthony Bouchard, a Republican state senator from Wyoming who founded the Wyoming Gun Owners Association, has said he may challenge it next year.
Ms. Cheney has a strong electoral record in Wyoming. She won her first race – for the Congressional seat her father once held – in 2016 by 32 points and increased her margin of victory to 44 points in her second reelection bid in November. But the state also gave Mr. Trump his biggest margin of any state in the 2016 and 2020 elections.
While critics called for a main challenge, she received support from other members of her party. In the Casper Star-Tribune, 30 lawyers and judges, including three former Wyoming governors and two former state Supreme Court justices, congratulated her on her vote of “courage.”
A GOP official familiar with Wyoming politics argued that it would be very difficult to oust. He said if more than one candidate ran against her in the primary, they would split the vote. And if a single challenger emerged, they would still face a big hurdle due to its strong donor support.
Mr Kristol said under normal circumstances voters would forgive him for voting against Mr Trump over time, but he warned there were no guarantees given how politics had changed in the past. era of Trump.
“She better work hard to make sure she fight it.” We raise a lot of money to help people like her, ”said Kristol, whose Republican accountability project plans to help the 10 Republicans who voted for. Accused.
Amy Edmonds, a former Wyoming state congresswoman who served as Ms Cheney’s communications director, was critical when her former boss asked if Mr Trump had evidence of massive voter fraud. But she changed her mind after realizing there was no evidence and after the violent siege.
“When January 6 arrived. . . a lot of people in Wyoming were completely horrified, ”Ms. Edmonds said. “She then spoke in favor of impeachment. It was an incredibly courageous thing for her to do.
She said some die-hard Trump fans would remain angry, but the fervor would subside, especially because most Republicans in Wyoming wouldn’t want to compromise their state’s influence, thanks to the leadership position. by Ms. Cheney.
“The legacy of her vote will be seen over the next two years in light of how much she continues to do for Wyoming,” she said. “They will continue to see her as a very strong Conservative representative.”
To follow Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter