Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, Donald Trump’s fiercest Republican adversary in Congress, was defeated in a Republican primary on Tuesday, falling to a rival backed by the former U.S. president in a contest that has reinforced Trump’s grip on the party’s base.
Cheney described her loss as the beginning of a new chapter, telling a small collection of supporters that “our work is far from over.”
“I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office,” she said.
The third-term congresswoman and her allies entered the day downbeat about her prospects, aware that Trump’s backing gave Harriet Hageman considerable lift in the state where he won by the largest margin during the 2020 campaign.
Cheney was already looking ahead to a political future beyond Capitol Hill that could include a 2024 presidential run.
This could put her on another collision course with Trump.
Today’s results were a powerful reminder of the Republican party’s rapid shift to the right.
A party once dominated by national security-oriented, business-friendly conservatives like Cheney’s father, former vice-president Dick Cheney, now belongs to Trump, animated by his populist appeal and, above all, his denial of defeat in the 2020 election.
Those lies, which have been roundly rejected by federal and state election officials along with Trump’s own attorney general and judges he appointed, transformed Cheney from an occasional critic of the former president to the clearest voice inside the party warning that he represents a threat to democratic norms.
“We’re facing a moment where our democracy really is under attack and under threat,” Cheney told CBS News earlier Tuesday.
“And those of us across the board — Republicans, Democrats and Independents who believe deeply in freedom and who care about the Constitution and the future of the country — have an obligation to put that above party.”
The 56-year-old Republican delivered a similar message in her concession speech later in the night, emphasizing her plans to maintain an active presence in national politics.