Rep. Liz Cheney vowed Tuesday not to remain silent as former President Trump continues to spread lies that the election was stolen from him, arguing she had a constitutional duty to protect against a threat “America has never seen before” ahead of an expected vote to oust Cheney from House Republican leadership on Wednesday.
The Wyoming Republican struck a defiant tone on Tuesday evening ahead of the vote that is all but assured to end in her removal as Republican conference chair over her continued criticisms of Trump, warning that ignoring Trump’s lies embolden him and threaten democracy.
“We must speak the truth. Our election was not stolen. And America has not failed,” Cheney said.
“Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney said. “I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former President’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”
The House Republican conference is expected to vote to remove Cheney from her leadership role on Wednesday over her opposition to Trump. The vote comes after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy soured on Cheney in recent weeks while she was vocal in her criticisms of Trump for continuing to lie about the election.
McCarthy has backed Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to replace Cheney as conference chair, and she currently faces no opposition for the position.
Cheney argued on the floor that Trump’s lies about the election have misled millions of Americas, undermining the democratic process and threatening more violence beyond the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
“Today we face a threat America has never seen before,” Cheney said. “A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence.”
Cheney argued she is a conservative, in a swipe at Trump’s congressional allies who have been pushing for her ouster since her January vote to impeach Trump.
“I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law,” she said. “The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution.”
When Cheney walked out to the House floor Tuesday, the Republican lawmakers cleared out. Republican Rep. Ken Buck was the only member watching Cheney speak in person.
CNN’s Annie Grayer contributed to this report.