Former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., urged New Hampshire voters on Friday to take a stand against the “cowardice” she claims is spreading within the Republican Party when they head to the polls to cast their votes in the 2024 presidential primary later this month.
Cheney, once a member of House Republican leadership when she was in Congress, made the comments in a speech at Dartmouth College as voters in New Hampshire prepare for the Jan. 23 primary.
“In a little over two weeks when you in New Hampshire go to the polls the world will be watching,” Cheney said.
“Speak for us all. Tell the world who we are with your vote. Tell them that we are a good and a great nation,” she added. “But make sure they know that we do not bend, we do not break and we do not yield in the defense of our freedom. Show the world that we will defeat the plague of cowardice sweeping through the Republican Party.”
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The former GOP congresswoman has clashed with many Republican lawmakers in the last couple of years over her criticism of former President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims the 2020 election was stolen from him, the former president’s handling of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack and her vote to impeach him. Cheney served as vice chair of the Congressional committee that investigated the Capitol riot.
“As a nation, we have arrived at a point where a group of elected Republicans cannot be counted on to defend the Constitution,” she said.
The Supreme Court said Friday it will decide whether Trump can be kept off state ballots over his role in the riot. This comes after two states – Colorado and Maine – took steps last month to remove the former president from their respective ballots, citing a provision under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting some people who engaged in insurrection from holding public office.
“This is a process that will go through the courts and we’ll see how that unfolds. But there’s no question in my mind that his actions clearly constituted an offense that is within the language of the 14th Amendment,” Cheney said. “There’s not a requirement that you be convicted in the Senate or in a court of law, and so I believe in the plain language of the constitution.”
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Cheney, who was easily defeated in her 2022 primary re-election bid by a Trump-backed candidate after standing up to the former president, said she disagrees with many of President Biden’s policies but urged conservative Republicans to recognize “the threat posed by Donald Trump and the threat posed by Joe Biden are not even remotely similar.”
“Our nation can survive and recover from policy mistakes. We cannot recover from a president willing to torch the Constitution,” she said.
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When asked about her future political ambitions and if they included a third-party run for president this year, Cheney echoed her past comments in which she said she would consider launching a White House bid to prevent Trump from being elected again.
“I’m going to do whatever the most effective thing is to ensure that Donald Trump is not elected,” she said on Friday. “I’ll make a decision about what that is in the coming months as we see what happens in the Republican primaries.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.