Back in January, when the House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump for the second time, for his role in inciting the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, all 222 House Democrats voted in favor, while ten Republicans broke from GOP ranks to join the effort. Included among them was Liz Cheney, the third-highest ranking Republican in the House and the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress.
"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," she said in a statement.
It wasn't the first time that Cheney, the most powerful Republican to support impeachment, had broken ranks with Trump and her fellow party members, despite the fact that not long ago, she was once the "Trumpiest" of them all, earning a reputation as the "most combative Cheney in Washington"—which is saying a lot given her father is Dick Cheney.
Now, though, it seems her refusal to get on board with Trump and co. has put her in danger of being ousted from Republican leadership. This week, party leaders began efforts to remove Cheney from her No. 3 post as Conference Chair and replace her with Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, a loyal supporter of Trump. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 Republican in the House, publicly supported Cheney's ouster, while minority leader Kevin McCarthy did so privately, according to the New York Times.
“Liz will have more to say in the coming days,” her spokesman Jeremy Adler said. “This moment is about much more than a House leadership fight.”
Here is what we know about Congresswoman Liz Cheney.
She was one of ten Republicans to vote for Trump's impeachment.
Cheney, Wyoming's lone U.S. Representative, was joined by nine others: John Katko (New York), Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), Fred Upton (Michigan), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Washington State), Dan Newhouse (Washington State), Peter Meijer (Michigan), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), David Valadao (California), and Tom Rice (South Carolina). Together they constituted the largest group to ever vote to impeach a president from their own party. When Trump was impeached the first time in 2019, Republicans unanimously voted against it.
Cheney has been facing backlash for her decision ever since.
Unsurprisingly, Cheney's break with Republican ranks led to calls for her to be removed from her party's leadership. (Her position as Chair of the House Republican Conference, to which she was elected in 2018, makes her the No. 3 Republican in the House, after Minority Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.) A petition began circulating in January by members of the Freedom Caucus calling for a special conference meeting to vote for Cheney's resignation. "I'm not going anywhere," Cheney told POLITICO. "This is a vote of conscience. It's one where there are different views in our conference. But our nation is facing an unprecedented, since the Civil War, constitutional crisis."
She has been a Congresswoman since 2016.
Prior to becoming Wyoming's lone House member in 2016, Cheney worked at the State Department, on-and-off, for nearly a decade, taking a break in 2003 to join her father's reelection campaign. In 2008, she joined Mitt Romney's presidential campaign as a senior foreign policy advisor. After a year-long stint as a Fox News contributor from 2012-2013, Cheney mounted a failed bid for the Senate in Wyoming.
That same Senate seat became available last year and it was widely believed that Cheney would go for it, this time with easy success. Instead, she turned the opportunity down, fueling speculation that she has her sights set somewhere else: Speaker of the House.
She is married to Philip Perry and they have 5 children.
Cheney's husband, Philip Perry, who she married in 1993, is a litigation partner at elite international law firm Latham & Watkins. He served various roles in the Bush administration, including acting associate attorney general at the Department of Justice, general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget, and general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security.
Don't confuse her with her little sister Mary Cheney, from whom she might still be estranged.
Liz and Mary Cheney had a very public falling out in 2014 during the former's failed run for the Senate. When asked about her stance on same-sex marriage, she openly opposed it, even though her younger sister Mary is gay (Mary, a former VP at AOL, married Heather Poe in 2012).
"Liz—this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree, you’re just wrong—and on the wrong side of history,” Mary wrote in a Facebook post. Heather also chimed in, writing, "Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children. To have her now say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least. I can’t help but wonder how Liz would feel if, as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other.”
In 2015, when asked if they had reconciled, Mary replied, "I don't have an answer to that."
And then of course there is her father: Former Vice President Dick Cheney
Much of Cheney's rise through the GOP ranks—as well as her famously hawkish stance on foreign policy—mirrors that of her father Dick, who served as George Bush's VP from 2001 to 2009 and is considered to have been the most powerful veep in American history. Like his daughter, Cheney Sr. was the U.S. Representative for Wyoming—a teenage Liz helped hand out fliers and campaign for her father, who was elected to Congress in 1978 and re-elected five times, until 1989. The elder Cheney was also once the No. 3 House Republican, and when his daughter earned that title in 2019, he sat smiling in the front row.
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