The Republican Party remains the party of Donald Trump. Despite getting thrashed by Joe Biden in the 2020 election, proceeding to spread the lie that victory was stolen from him through mass voter fraud, and inciting a deadly insurrection, he maintains a stranglehold over the GOP’s voting base. Any Republican official who dares to criticize the disgraced former president quickly finds themselves the target of mass harassment and full-throated accusations that they aren’t a true conservative. Apparently, the word “conservative” now just means supporting everything Donald Trump says and does.
One of the few Republican members of Congress willing to voice opposition to Trumpism is Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), an odious politician in her own right who nonetheless deserves some amount of credit for her criticisms of the former president. She has repeatedly attacked him over his role in the January 6th insurrection and most recently stated that the GOP cannot accept the “poison” that is the claim the election was stolen. She called his involvement in the Capitol siege a “line that cannot be crossed.”
Yesterday, Punchbowl News reported that Republican House leaders Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA) are looking to replace Cheney and slot someone into her role as House Republican Conference Chair “who does not pose a threat to them and their power.” In other words, they want someone indoctrinated into the cult of Trumpism. There is no room for dissension in the ranks when it comes to supporting the destructive MAGA agenda.
Today, the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement criticizing Scalises’s and McCarthy’s behavior as sexist. Tagged with the satirical title “GOP Leadership: Help Wanted — Non-Threatening Female,” the statement takes the two men to task for trying to replace the “most senior woman in GOP leadership” because “She won’t lie, she isn’t humble enough, she’s like a girlfriend rooting for the wrong team, and more.”
The statement adds that it’s “not surprising” that Scalise and McCarthy are searching for a woman who won’t be a “threat” to them. Pelosi’s remarks are sure to stir up the hornet’s nest and hopefully escalate the civil war raging within the Republican Party.
— Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) May 4, 2021
Now, a fellow Republican has come to Cheney’s defense. Senator Mitt Romney (UT), a prominent political enemy of Donald Trump, took to Twitter to vouch for her character. He said that every “person of conscience” must decide where to draw the line on personal behavior. According to Romney, “Liz Cheney refuses to lie.” The reality, of course, is that like all GOP politicians Cheney lies constantly — she just doesn’t lie about Trump’s lack of fitness as a leader.
The senator then referenced his vote to impeach Trump. He was the lone Republican senator to do so and said that after he cast his vote a Republican Senate colleague told him he “wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that punished someone for following their conscience.” Whether or not Cheney in fact possesses a conscience or is simply making a calculated political move by opposing Trump remains to be seen, but it’s always a welcome development when the Republican Party descends into internecine conflict.
Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie. As one of my Republican Senate colleagues said to me following my impeachment vote: “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that punished someone for following their conscience.”
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 4, 2021
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.