Former President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will support a Wyoming attorney’s bid to unseat GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.
In a statement, Trump endorsed Harriet Hageman, who stepped down from her role representing Wyoming on the Republican National Committee in advance of the announcement. Hageman previously ran for governor in 2018, finishing third in the Republican primary, and has donated to Cheney’s campaigns.
“Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First,” Trump said in an emailed statement. “Harriet has my Complete and Total Endorsement in replacing the Democrats number one provider of sound bites, Liz Cheney. Make America Great Again!”
Cheney replied to the announcement via tweet, with a screenshot of Trump's statement and the message "Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it."
Trump and his allies have targeted Cheney since she was one of 10 Republicans to vote for his impeachment following the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. In May, Cheney’s Republican colleagues in the House ousted her from a top leadership position. She has also faced scrutiny from party leadership back home in Wyoming.
“There has not been a time during our tenure when we have seen this type of an outcry from our fellow Republicans, with the anger and frustration being palpable in the comments we have received,” said the Wyoming Republican Party in a statement after Cheney announced her intention to vote for impeachment.
“Our telephone has not stopped ringing, our email is filling up, and our website has seen more traffic than at any previous time,” the statement said. “The consensus is clear that those who are reaching out to the Party vehemently disagree with Representative Cheney’s decision and actions.”
Cheney further angered her Republican colleagues by joining the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. She is one of only two Republicans on the panel, the other being Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
In February, the state GOP formally censured Cheney and asked her to resign. In August, Republicans in two Wyoming counties voted to no longer recognize her as part of their party. This week, Trump allies in the House wrote to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and asked him to remove her from the GOP Conference.
“Liz will continue to fight for all the people of Wyoming,” Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler told the Casper Star-Tribune last month. “She knows that she and all elected officials are bound by their duty under the U.S. Constitution, not by blind loyalty to one man.”
Hageman cited the February condemnation in her letter resigning from the RNC position, writing, “By censuring Rep. Liz Cheney we sent the strong message that we expect our elected officials to respect the views and values of the people who elected them. Accountability is key and I am proud of our party for demanding it.”
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, first won election to the House in 2016 after a failed 2014 Senate bid. The last time a Republican member of Congress from Wyoming lost a primary challenge was in 1968. Cheney’s allies note that she has one of the more conservative voting records in the House, and often supported Trump’s legislative priorities when he was in office.
But Cheney has continued to dispute Trump’s baseless and repeated claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. According to an August Yahoo News/YouGov poll, two-thirds of Republicans still believe the election was rigged.
Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have passed restrictions since last November that make it more difficult to vote, arguing that such moves are necessary to restore faith in elections. A number of Republicans who have stated they believe the election was stolen are now running for the top election offices in their states.
Trump has spent the last few months reportedly interviewing potential candidates for his Wyoming endorsement. The former president and his son Donald Jr. are set to spend the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks as commentators on a pay-per-view boxing event.
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Mead Gruver/AP, Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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