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Cheney calls out Wyoming GOP officials one year after US Capitol attack

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Capitol Riot Anniversary Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney walks with his daughter Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, in the Capitol Rotunda at the Capitol on Thursday in Washington. Cheney continues to criticize former President Donald Trump for helping to incite the riot.  

The Wyoming Republican Party apparatus includes people who are “quite radical,” Rep. Liz Cheney said Thursday.

Cheney made the comment on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The lawmaker gave multiple interviews that day, while also observing a moment of silence in the House of Representatives.

Since the attack, Cheney has steadfastly insisted former President Donald Trump helped to incite the riot, which occurred as Congress worked to certify the presidential election. That criticism, and her vote to impeach Trump, prompted serious blowback within Wyoming.

In early 2021, the state party voted to censure her for her vote to impeach Trump. More recently, the Wyoming GOP narrowly voted to unrecognize Cheney.

“There are people in the state party apparatus of my home state who are quite radical. And some of those same people include people who were here on Jan. 6th, include a party chair who has toyed with the idea of secession,” Cheney said in a Fox News interview Thursday. “So, there is a very radical element of the Republican Party in the same way that there is a radical element of the Democratic Party.”

Cheney was referencing Wyoming GOP chairman Frank Eathorne, who alluded to secession in an interview last year and was at the rally outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, which he termed “peaceful and patriotic,” in statement released shortly afterward.

Eathorne was not the only Wyoming Republican present at the Capitol that day: Cheyenne businessman Darin Smith, who sought at one point to unseat Cheney in August’s Republican primary, attended as well. Smith previously told the Star-Tribune that he does not regret attending, but also clarified that he did not storm the Capitol building.

The Republican Party plans to issue a statement on Cheney’s comments about the chairman.

It is clear where the state party stands on Cheney already.

“To further her own personal political agenda, Representative Liz Cheney has not only caused massive disruption, distraction and division within the House Republican Conference, but has also willingly, happily, and energetically joined forced with and proudly pledged allegiance to democrat Speaker of the House Pelosi, as a means of serving her own personal interests while ignoring the interests, needs and expectations of Wyoming Republicans,” the resolution that unrecognized her stated.

As Cheney’s reelection year kicks off, the interviews she gave on Jan. 6 indicate that she remains committed to the approach she’s employed for the past 12 months: slamming Trump for lying about the 2020 presidential election and his role in the Capitol riot. Those comments have come with consequences, including losing her leadership position in the House.

“I think that is really important when you have somebody who has demonstrated his lack of fidelity to the Constitution, someone who’s at war with the rule of law, you cannot entrust that person with the power of the presidency ever again,” Cheney said in an interview on the anniversary. “And I think it’s critically important for the Republic that he not be anywhere close to the Oval Office ever again.”

Cheney’s continued rebukes of Trump has prompted praise from Democrats, which anti-Cheney Republicans have harped on. For example, Vice President Kamala Harris said in an interview that she “applaud[s] her courage.”

Harriet Hageman, the Trump-endorsed candidate against Cheney, used the vice president’s comments in a campaign message released Friday.

“Good for Liz Cheney that Kamala Harris is happy with her work in Congress, because Wyoming sure isn’t,” Hageman said in a statement. “Cheney is trying to get another bite at the apple in her vendetta against President Trump after her vote to impeach him failed to remove him from office.”

Outside of the numerous interviews Cheney did on the anniversary, she and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, were the only two Republicans in the House for a moment of silence commemorating the Capitol attack.

Dick Cheney, a Wyoming political icon who is largely abhorred by the left wing for his role in the Iraq War, was “warmly” greeted by Democrats at the House, The New York Times reported.

When asked about Republican leadership’s response to the attack on the Capitol, Dick Cheney replied “It’s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years.”

“My daughter can take care of herself,” he added, when asked about Republican leadership’s treatment of her.

Criticism of Trump has made Cheney’s reelection effort difficult. In the past, she’s coasted to reelection. This time, she faces a formidable challenge from Hageman.

According to recent polling, Trump remains the front-runner for the Republican nomination if he elects to run again.

Follow state politics reporter Victoria Eavis on Twitter @Victoria_Eavis

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