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Top Republican Trump critic Liz Cheney loses seat in US Congress

Cheney fell to a rival backed by the former US president.

Liz Cheney, Donald Trump’s most steadfast Republican adversary in Congress, was defeated in a party primary yesterday.
Liz Cheney, Donald Trump’s most steadfast Republican adversary in Congress, was defeated in a party primary yesterday.
Image: Jae Hong/AP

REPUBLICAN REBEL LIZ Cheney has lost her seat in US Congress to a candidate backed by Donald Trump, but vowed to fight on and do “whatever it takes” to ensure that the former US president is never returned to power.

Once considered Republican royalty, the lawmaker from Wyoming has become a pariah in the party over her membership on the congressional panel investigating the January 6 assault on the US Capitol – and Trump’s role in fanning the flames.

“I have said since January 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office, and I mean it,” the Wyoming congresswoman said in a concession speech after losing her bid at reelection.

Defeat for the 56-year-old daughter of former US vice president Dick Cheney in the Wyoming Republican primary marks the end of the family’s four-decade political association with one of America’s most conservative states.

The Republican nomination to contest November’s midterms instead goes to 59-year-old lawyer Harriet Hageman — Trump’s hand-picked candidate who has amplified his false claims of a “rigged” 2020 election.

In her speech last night, Cheney delivered a stark warning about the danger of Trump’s election fraud conspiracy theories, urging politicians on both sides of the aisle to join her fight to protect US democracy.

Speaking at a cattle ranch near Jackson, Cheney sought to move quickly beyond her defeat, setting out what she said was “real work” of her effort to ensure Trump never regains the White House.

She blamed the former president, who is embroiled in numerous criminal and civil investigations over alleged misconduct in office, for sending the deeply-divided United States towards “crisis, lawlessness and violence” with his inflammatory rhetoric.

“No American should support election deniers, for any position of genuine responsibility, [because] their refusal to follow the rule of law will corrupt our future,” she warned.

‘Under attack’

There is already speculation that Cheney may challenge Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 – or even run as an independent – and supporters were hoping her concession speech would double up as a blueprint for her political future.

She pointedly avoided addressing the issue, but had earlier told CBS that the primary – regardless of the result – would be “the beginning of a battle that is going to continue.”

“We are facing a moment where our democracy really is under attack and under threat,” she said.

Cheney had framed her campaign as a battle for the soul of a party she is trying to save from the anti-constitutional forces of Trumpism.

She was the last of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who backed Trump’s second impeachment to face primary voters.

Four retired rather than seek reelection, three lost to Trump-backed opponents, and only two – California’s David Valadao and Dan Newhouse of Washington state – have made it through to November’s midterm elections.

Cheney voted in line with Trump’s positions 93%of the time when he was president but he didn’t pull his punches as he sought vengeance for her role in the House committee probe.

Trump has called Cheney “disloyal” and a “warmonger”, prompting death threats that have forced her to travel with a police escort.

He called her defeat Tuesday night “a wonderful result for America.”

“Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I am sure, she will be much happier than she is right now,” he posted on his Truth Social platform.

Palin comeback bid

There were also elections yesterday in Alaska, where 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s comeback battle – to complete the term of a congressman who died in office – divided locals.

Fourteen years after rising to international fame on the losing Republican presidential ticket headed by John McCain, Palin remains popular among women as the “soccer mom” who pioneered the ultra-conservative “Tea Party” movement that paved the way for Trumpism.

But many voters blame her for abandoning her single term as governor halfway through, amid ethics complaints, and a recent poll showed her to be viewed unfavorably by 60% of Alaskans.

The results in Palin’s race are not expected for several days.

© – AFP, 2022

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