- Liz Cheney told ABC News she now regrets her vote for Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
- “It was a vote based on policy … in terms of the kinds of policies he put forward,” she said.
- Cheney criticized House Republicans for ousting her to promote Rep. Elise Stefanik to leadership.
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GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was ousted as the House Republican Conference Chair after continuing to challenge former President Donald Trump’s false election claims, said in an ABC interview set to air on Sunday that she now regrets voting for the former president in 2020.
Cheney, a staunch conservative and the scion of a GOP political dynasty, was removed from her party’s leadership on Thursday and replaced with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, a 36-year-old lawmaker who had the backing of Trump.
“I was never going to support [President] Joe Biden and I do regret the vote,” Cheney told ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl. “It was a vote based on policy, based on substance and in terms of the kinds of policies he put forward that were good for the country. But I think it’s fair to say that I regret the vote.”
Cheney criticized House Republicans for promoting Stefanik to leadership, emphasizing that it was “dangerous” to elevate an individual who has continued to legitimize Trump’s debunked election allegations.
“What does it say about the party choosing somebody to replace you, who was effectively chosen by Donald Trump and saying what he’s been saying … those very lies you were talking about?” she asked.
She added: “I think it’s dangerous. I think 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.”
-This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 14, 2021
Cheney, who saw the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection as an affront to the rule of law, believed that Trump had abdicated his commitment to the secure and peaceful transfer of power and was threatening American democracy.
“We just had a violent mob assault the US Capitol in an attempt to prevent those from carrying out our Constitutional duty,” she said in a statement that day. “There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame.”
However, in the months following her impeachment vote, Cheney continued to reject Trump’s claims of a stolen election, angering pro-Trump conservatives like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana who felt like she wasn’t staying on message for the party.
Cheney said in the interview that it was critical for Republicans who rejected Trump’s false election claims to affirm the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
“Frankly, it’s the same kinds of things that the Chinese Communist Party says about democracy: that it’s a failed system, and America is a failed nation,” Cheney said of Trump’s claims. “I won’t be part of that. And I think it’s very important for Republicans who won’t be part of that to stand up and speak out.”