Liz Cheney’s Statement on Impeachment

The #3 Republican in the House will vote to impeach.

Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), the House Republican Conference Chair (the number three in the House GOP) issued the following statement:

“On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic. 

“Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. 


“I will vote to impeach the President.”

Not only do I agree with every word of this, I think it is profoundly important that a member of the President’s own party is so directly saying them. It is significant that she is part of party leadership, behind Minority Leader McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

It is key that Republicans step up and denounce Trump’s behavior.

I want to emphasize the following:

The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not.

This is a point I have made both here at OTB and in private conversations. Even if Trump wants to argue that he didn’t mean to incite the march on the Capitol, the fact that he waited two hours after it started to say anything is extremely damning. If he didn’t intend the mob to act as it did, why didn’t he try to stop them–something fully within his power?

And, again, he told them that they were “special” and that he loved them.

At least three Republican members of the House have stated their intention to vote for impeachment. Fox News reports: Cheney, Katko first House Republicans to back Trump impeachment.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. John Katko of New York are planning to support Democrats’ effort to impeach President Trump after last week’s riots at the U.S. Capitol, Fox News has confirmed.

[…]

After Cheney’s and Katko’s announcement, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., later tweeted a statement backing impeachment. “We are in unchartered waters here, and in history we have not experienced in modern times,” he said. He added that “there is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.”

Also of significance (also from FNC): House GOP leadership won’t lobby members to vote against impeachment.

GOP leadership will not lobby members to vote against President Trump’s impeachment, two House Republican leadership sources told Fox News. 

“This is a conscience vote for the members, I don’t believe it will be whipped,” one senior Republican aide said. 

Nevertheless, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said in a letter to GOP House members that he opposes impeaching the president. He said doing so would further divide the country in the wake of the attack on the Capitol last week and proposed other ways the House could respond.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Impeachment, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Kurtz says:

    In principle, impeachment is the right thing to do here.

    But as a person who thinks Trump is a result of Republican politics from the 80s on, this is giving a pass to the people who have benefitted from the strategies and tactics of the GOP. It allows them to distance themselves from something that they carried out and/or kowtowed for their own benefit.

    Stick them with it.

    McConnell now thinks Trump committed impeachable offenses? Fuck you, Mitch, go buy an eight ball.

    Liz Cheney will now vote for impeachment? Go sit next to your father in whatever place damned people go, Liz.

    Make the Republicans who brought us here take their own garbage out.

    They don’t want him to run in four years? They should do it themselves, because they cleared the path for his election. They don’t want him anymore now that they got what they wanted? Well, don’t comp the fucking check for them, because they ate the whole meal and then complained it didn’t taste good.

    Trump’s involvement in the GOP is good for the Left, not bad.

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  2. @Kurtz: The question at the moment is what is it we want Republicans to do. And the answer is we want them to reject Trump.

    I get that there are reasons to critique Cheney and any number of other Reps.

    But is the statement correct, or not?

    And is the country better off if Reps reject him or not?

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    Trump is out of office in eight days. And likely not coming back. It ain’t just Trump. It’d be nice if they rejected Trump, but what we want is the R Party weakened to the point they are no longer a threat to the nation. I’m not seeing how giving Cheney, McConnell, and a few others a head start on washing out the Trump stink helps.

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  4. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Those are fair questions.

    If rejecting Trump is a sincere rejection of the their paving of Trump’s path, then yes.

    But if it’s a PR stunt to try to wash off orange concealer and then continue to indulge in the same tactics and policies that brought us here, then no.

    Because in the end, if the GOP doesn’t change, then there is no analysis that leaves room for what’s in the best interest of the country. They have, for 40 years now, done what’s in the best interest of a tiny sliver of the population, not what’s best for the family of four down the street.

    Maybe I’ve become too cynical about Republicans, but really, how can anyone blame me?

    ETA:

    I want Republicans to show contrition by invoking the 25th amendment. Or, it should have been Republicans who drafted the Articles of Impeachment and presented them.

    I would also prefer if they expelled the members of Congress who helped incite the riot. But that’s even more of a fever dream, if only because unlike James and @Inhumans99, I didn’t read that Colorado bobblehead’s tweet as a statement of Pelosi’s safety.

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  5. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And the answer is we want them to reject Trump.

    Absolutely. Whichever of them follow their ‘conscience’ to vote in rejection of Trump counts as a good start.

    But per Kurtz, for good measure, we also want some of them to distance themselves from Cruz and Hawley. And if we are really lucky, some of them might publicly regret the decades GOP political trends that brought us to Trumpism.

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  6. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: I concur on the bobblehead from Colorado. She was apparently standing outside the House floor, refusing to go through the metal detectors and refusing to show what’s in her bag today.

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  7. David S. says:

    Yeah. It’s hard to credit that they’re sincere about their denunciation when it’s incrementally costing them less and less to reject Trump. If they are sincere, then sure. That’s a great thing. But they need to denounce more than just Trump. They need to recognize how the party has behaved over the past four years. They have to acknowledge how the party has behaved over the last few decades.

    At the very least, they have to take substantive steps that are larger than a single vote. So, you know… it’s nice that Cheney has given this statement. And it’ll be nice if she votes to impeach, joining a foregone conclusion. It’ll be magical if that impeachment results in conviction. But it’s not exactly Damascus.

    This is a return to the status quo, and it’s a status quo that isn’t actually great for a lot of people.

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  8. Dutchgirl says:

    It’s just too convenient when it’s all pinned to this one act by Trump, instead of a thorough denunciation of everything that precipitated it. They were with him all the way until he incited an actual insurrection riot. Had it been just short of that, they would still be with him. No credit where credit isn’t due.

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  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    Who’s the equivalent of Cheney in the Senate? Chuck Grassley, maybe?

    I think they mean it, for whatever that’s worth. This got really personal. People’s staffs were not evacuated and were under threat for multiple hours.

    I expect the Senators who went against the Majority Leader’s wishes might find that the Senate fundraising committee is not very generous with them in the time to come. I’m less clear about the House, though.

    I wonder if Cheney thinks she might challenge Kevin McCarthy to the caucus leadership in the new Congress?

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  10. CSK says:

    The reason the president didn’t “immediately and forcefully intervene” to stop the riot was that he was enjoying it. Enjoying it, and puzzled as to why other people weren’t equally thrilled by the spectacle.

    By far Trump is the most disgusting human being ever to sully the Oval Office.

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  11. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08:

    It’d be nice if they rejected Trump, but what we want is the R Party weakened to the point they are no longer a threat to the nation. I’m not seeing how giving Cheney, McConnell, and a few others a head start on washing out the Trump stink helps.

    Forcing the Republicans to make a stand on Trump, one way or the other, is going to fracture their party.

    Best case scenario, Republicans start distancing themselves from Trump and the things he caused and his particular coalition of deplorables.

    More likely case, a weakened Republican Party with a lot of infighting.

    Worst case scenario, Liz Cheney is persona non grata in Republican circles.

    Seems pretty good to me.

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  12. DK says:

    Every day that Treason Trump spends in office is a clear and present danger to the world.

    So the operative consideration here is not whether impeachment gives the GOP a pass. That’s for American voters to handle. We have observed the Rethuglikkklan Party’s 4-decade drift into intellectual and moral bankruptcy and reactionary white grievance. The right’s reckoning on that front is only just beginning (see 2020-2021 Election Results, Arizona and Georgia). It’s up to youth voters, people of color, and suburban/educated whites to ensure that reckoning continues up and downballot.

    The operative consideration right now is did the president commit the high crime in the impeachment artlicle. Yes, he did: Traitor Trump is a lying thug who incited a terror attack on congress to stage a violent coup, an attack in which the “Blue Lives Matter” mob…beat a police officer to death and sought to assassinate the vice-president and house speaker. Four others died, and later another officer took his life.

    All legislators who support impeachment right now are thus right to do so, Republican or Democrat. We can worry about any optics, passes, and accountability for others later. One more week of Drama Queen Donnie is one week too many.

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  13. @Kurtz:

    I want Republicans to show contrition by invoking the 25th amendment. Or, it should have been Republicans who drafted the Articles of Impeachment and presented them.

    Which would have been fantastic, and I agree that would have been far, far better.

    But here’s the deal: the goal here is not to get Cheney or any other Republican politician to full repent of their sins (although that would be great). The goal is to try and turn our national politics away from the direction it has been headed and the more Reps that join in this process, especially someone in leadership, the more the general public may buy in.

    There are citizens out there who would tune out these words from Pelosi, but who will take all of this more seriously if they find out that Cheney said them. That matters.

    Practical politics is about building coalitions.

    Further, does it matter if some member of Congress who voted to create Social Security back in the day did it for some cynical reason, or do we really care if they were pure of heart?

    The only thing I think we can ultimately hope for out of folks in politics (and maybe in life in general, quite frankly) is that they do the right thing, even if their motives are impure.

    This just does not strike me as a good time insists on both getting the right actions from people and perfect motives as well.

    Also: since we aren’t going to get a unified GOP in opposition to Trump, I say take every vote we can get.

    I will try and expand on this later.

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  14. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Looking forward to your expansion on this idea. Thank you for the thoughtful response.

    I want to think about it a little more before I respond. If you do get around to the expansion (I know you’re busy) I will probably have better formed thoughts by then.

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  15. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “I get that there are reasons to critique Cheney and any number of other Reps.”

    I am willing to applaud Cheney for this. Am I a sufficiently generous person to regret the fact that she’s probably ruining her chances for higher office for the foreseeable future? No, that I am not. But still, go Liz!

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  16. wr says:

    @gVOR08: “I’m not seeing how giving Cheney, McConnell, and a few others a head start on washing out the Trump stink helps.”

    Because to the Trump base, they are traitors. And if they’re embraced by Dems for stabbing him in the back, they’ll be even more hated by the base.

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  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott F.: I’m not sure that I care whether they “reject Trump.” I’d rather see them reject “The Wall,” regressive taxation, shredding the safety nets, bigotry, “Blue Lives Matter More Than Black Ones Do,” zero-sum economic theories, and a bunch of other similar stuff that I’m never gonna live to see.

    I don’t give a rat’s a$$ what they think about Trump; he’s only the scar, not the wound.

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  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My bad, that should have been @Steven L. Taylor.

  19. charon says:

    Getting shed of Trump is good for the GOP politically.

    But, so what? It’s good for the country also. And, I am just so so sick of Trump, thinking about Trump, knowing about Trump. The more gone he becomes, the more I like it, even if Trump sticking around pretending to run for President in 2024 would be a thorn in the GOP’s side.

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  20. Jax says:

    @charon: I second that idea. I have severe “Trump Exhaustion”. If I never have to hear the name, see his face, or listen to him talk ever again, I would be a happy woman.

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  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The question at the moment is what is it we want Republicans to do. And the answer is we want them to reject Trump.

    Not quite. The answer is that we want them to reject the lies and disinformation that enable Trump. Rejecting Trump without rejecting the lies leaves the nation worse off than before; it pretends that the lies weren’t the problem, and invites us to move along.

    Imagine this hypothetical statement from a GOP Senator: “Donald Trump’s incitement of a mob to violently attack the Capitol of the United States and the Congress within it cannot be tolerated or forgiven, not even in the face of the massive electoral fraud that precipitated the protests.”

    That’s rejecting Donald Trump, but it ain’t at all what we want. Or need.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    Oh, yes. the best parts of his term were right after the election, and after he was kicked off Twitter, and he went largely silent.

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  23. @DrDaveT: Sigh. All I can say is let not the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Look, I get it, we all want a lot of things that we are not going to get.

    Life is often about small, incomplete victories being better than utter defeat.

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