Politics Byron York's Daily Memo: Liz Cheney's game
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LIZ CHENEY'S GAME. What is House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney thinking? Is she trying to deliver tough love to the GOP's most ardent supporters of former President Donald Trump? Is she trying to administer bad-tasting-but-needed medicine to her party? Is she trying to curry favor with media opinion-makers? Is she trying to position herself for some big political move in the next year or so? None of that is really clear at this moment.
Who is Liz Cheney? House Republicans' No. 3, daughter of a VP, Trump critic
Liz Cheney is the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who held the same GOP leadership position from which she may be ousted.Cheney was one of 10 Republicans in the House to vote for Trump's impeachment over his alleged incitement of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, and has since remained firm in her belief that Trump's rhetoric led to the violence.
What is clear is what Cheney is saying. And in the past few days, she has directed hostile language toward some in her own party and conciliatory language to the opposition party. It's no surprise that some of Cheney's colleagues are unhappy.
Consider these two tweets. On Monday morning, Cheney tweeted, "The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
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The wording of it suggested that Cheney was not looking to persuade but to bludgeon. Rhetorical devices like putting THE BIG LIE in all caps gave the tweet a feeling of something one might hear on CNN or MSNBC. The tweet's tone seemed designed to irritate all Republicans, not just those who believe the election was stolen.
Liz Cheney is no defender of democracy: She and her party created a monster
Don't get suckered by the friendly fascist: Liz Cheney and the GOP have been building Trumpism for decades Donald Trump, Liz Cheney and Mitch McConnell Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
Compare that to a tweet from Cheney last Thursday, after President Joe Biden's speech to Congress. "I disagree strongly with @JoeBiden, but when the President reaches out to greet me in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, I will always respond in a civil, respectful & dignified way. We're different political parties. We're not sworn enemies. We're Americans."
Nothing wrong with any of that, but some Republicans were sure to see Cheney's tone toward Biden as far different -- far more positive -- than her tone toward some in her party. She "disagrees strongly" with Biden, while some of her fellow Republicans are "spreading THE BIG LIE."
This is a long parenthetical, but just so it is clear, I should say that I do not believe there was massive fraud in the 2020 presidential election. On November 5, I wrote, "." On November 12, I wrote, " ." On November 20, I wrote that, " ." On December 11, in “Time for Trump to Stop,” I wrote that, " Trump's legal challenges. I wrote that again on . Once the Electoral College had voted, Trump should have dropped his challenges, and Republicans should not have followed the lead of 2017 Democrats by challenging Electoral College certification in the House.
Byron York's Daily Memo: Why House Republicans have had it with Liz Cheney
Welcome to Byron York's Daily Memo newsletter.WHY HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE HAD IT WITH LIZ CHENEY. On January 25, Republican Representative Dan Newhouse sent out a press release announcing that he had been chosen to serve as one of his party's assistant whips. "I'm honored to have been selected," Newhouse said. GOP Whip Steve Scalise, who chose Newhouse, added, "I'm very excited to welcome Dan to the Whip Team for the 117th Congress.
But the issue now is Cheney's handling of Republican election skeptics. The polls say a lot of Republicans believe there was massive fraud in the election. There are certainly variations in intensity inside that group, but Trump himself has tried to keep the feeling alive, even as Biden and the political world move forward.
The question is, how to address those Republicans and their beliefs. In any argument, one can say, "I disagree with you," or one can say, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." The two statements carry different messages and elicit different responses from the other party.
When it comes to the presidential election, in the conversation inside the Republican Party, one could say, "No, I don't believe the election was stolen. I approached the question with an open mind, but there was simply never enough evidence to show that massive fraud occurred. I've looked at it. The former president had a chance to present his case in court after court and never produced enough evidence to win. I know he doesn't accept the result, but it's time to move on, even as we appreciate all the accomplishments of the Trump administration."
Trump, No. 2 House Republican Steve Scalise throw support behind Elise Stefanik for Liz Cheney's leadership post
Steve Scalise, the House Republicans' No. 2, throws his support behind four-term New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik for leadership post.It's the most telling sign yet the Wyoming lawmaker's position as the No. 3 House Republican is in peril after she repeatedly criticized Trump's false election fraud claims.
That's a bit different in tone from Cheney's BIG LIE approach. So it's no wonder that her manner grates on so many Republicans. Does that mean that the House GOP should boot her from her leadership position? That's a question for the other leaders to answer, based on their assessment of what Cheney is up to. She has been ham-fisted before -- remember when, as a neophyte, she tried to use the strength of her last name to push veteran Wyoming Republican Senator Mike Enzi out a race for re-election? Perhaps she's just being ham-fisted again. Or perhaps she's got something else going on. That's why it's important for Republicans to know what Cheney's game is.
For a deeper dive into many of the topics covered in the Daily Memo, please listen to my podcast, The Byron York Show -- available on the Ricochet Audio Network and everywhere else podcasts can be found. You can use this.
Liz Cheney chooses truth over power -- a lonely path in Trump's GOP .
Donald Trump is effectively forcing every Republican who wants a political future to show how far they're willing to compromise on principle, truth and conscience for power. © Melina Mara/AFP/POOL/Getty Images Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) waits for the arrival of President Joe Biden, before he addresses a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on April 28, 2021. Most GOP leaders with aspirations of higher office don't think twice before genuflecting before the former President. But the party's No. 3 House leader, Rep.