On the eve of her ouster, the Wyoming Republican excoriated her fellow GOP lawmakers for being 'at war with the Constitution' and 'undermining democracy' by pushing Donald Trump's election lies.
Republicans on Wednesday officially ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her role as House GOP conference chair, the No. 3 position in Republican House leadership, after expressing their disapproval of her criticism of Donald Trump.
According to multiple reports, Republicans did not have a recorded vote on her removal, so it's unclear how many of the GOP members supported ousting her from her role. Instead, Republicans took a voice vote, in which members say "aye" or "nay" to a question, and the chair decides which group was loudest.
Cheney's punishment was swift, coming just after 9 a.m. E.T., shortly after Republicans gathered to vote on her future.
According to NBC News' Kasie Hunt, Cheney defended her Trump criticism ahead of the vote, saying, "We cannot let the former president drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy. Down that path lies our destruction, and potentially the destruction of our country."
That echoed the comments Cheney made in a fiery Tuesday night speech, in which she accused her Republican colleagues of sliding into authoritarianism by pushing Trump's lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
In her roughly six-minute-long speech Tuesday night, Cheney said Republicans need to "speak the truth. Our election was not stolen. And America has not failed."
"Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy," Cheney said. "This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar."
She added, "I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former President's crusade to undermine our democracy."
But Cheney's colleagues were sick of her outspoken criticism of Trump, who she blamed for the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. She has said should no longer hold a position of leadership in the Republican Party.
Her ouster shows just how wedded Republicans are to Trump — despite the fact that he caused the GOP to lose control of the House, Senate, and White House in his four-year tenure.
Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham, who dropped his sharp criticism of Trump after he won the 2016 election and has since become one of his greatest defenders, have said Republicans need to continue embracing Trump for the sake of the party.
"If you try to drive him out of the Republican party, half the people will leave," Graham said in a Tuesday interview on Fox News. "It doesn’t mean you can’t criticize the president. It means the Republican party cannot go forward without President Trump being part of it."
Republicans are expected to replace Cheney with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who has had no qualms in pushing Trump's voter fraud lies.
Few Republicans have stuck up for Cheney, who has made no mention of resigning her seat.
But some have been vocal in their support for her outspokenness.
"Kevin McCarthy (an employee of Donald Trump) may win tomorrow, but history won't be kind," Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL), one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection, tweeted. "Never has our party gone after its own leadership like this, but Kevin [McCarthy] and Steve Scalise made history, because Trump has thin skin. I'd be embarrassed if I was them."
And despite her removal from her leadership role, Cheney said she is not going to remain quiet.
"I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office," Cheney told reporters after she was booted from leadership.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.