Liz Cheney, the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, is likely to be dumped as chairman of the party’s House conference. That’s not because she recognized in public that President Joe Biden won the legal votes to be president. It’s not because she voted to impeach President Donald Trump over his campaign to keep power even though he had lost. After all, she won a vote to keep her position not long after the impeachment. She’s on her way out the door because, in the weeks after she prevailed, she refused to stop talking about Trump’s lies and the riot they caused at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The colleagues who have dropped their support for her think that when she was asked about Trump, she should have changed the subject. They wish that when Trump issued a statement on May 3 calling the 2020 election fraudulent, she would have ignored it instead of responding that the former president was “poisoning the democratic system.” She was unhelpfully re-litigating the past, they muttered; never mind that he was doing the same thing, in a worse way.
Republican weariness with Cheney involves some very fine distinctions. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said in January that Trump had engaged in “impeachable conduct.” In late February, though, he explained that Cheney had “forfeited” her claim to her job when she answered a question by saying that she did not think the man who engaged in that conduct should lead the Republican Party in the future.