Three weeks earlier, Cheney introduced that she would vote to question President Donald Trump over his encouragement of his supporters’ storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 — considered one of solely 10 Home Republicans, and the one member of the social gathering’s management, to take action. As a result of her colleagues had elected Cheney to the social gathering’s third-highest place within the Home, her phrases had been usually seen as expressing the desire of the convention, and people phrases had been extraordinarily clear: “There has by no means been a better betrayal by a president of the US of his workplace and his oath to the Structure,” she mentioned.
The mix of her stature and her unequivocal stand amounted to a transparent message from Cheney to Home Republicans: In the event that they sided with Trump in difficult the election, they had been siding in opposition to the Structure, and in opposition to at the least considered one of their elected leaders. The tenor of the Feb. 3 assembly was due to this fact tense, portentous and deeply private from starting to finish, in line with a number of attendees who later described it to me.
When it was Cheney’s flip to talk, the 54-year-old congresswoman from Wyoming started by describing her lifelong reverence for the Home, the place her father, Dick Cheney, was minority whip greater than 30 years in the past earlier than serving as George H.W. Bush’s secretary of protection and George W. Bush’s vice chairman. However, Cheney went on, she was “deeply, deeply involved about the place our social gathering is headed.” Its core ideas — restricted authorities, low taxes, a robust nationwide protection — had been being overshadowed by darker forces. “We can’t change into the social gathering of QAnon,” she mentioned. “We can’t change into the social gathering of Holocaust denial. We can’t change into the social gathering of white supremacy. All of us watched in horror what occurred on Jan. 6.”
Cheney, alone amongst Home Republicans, had been talked about by Trump in his speech that day. “The Liz Cheneys of the world, we obtained to eliminate them,” he informed his supporters on the Ellipse shortly earlier than they overran the Capitol. The president had been infuriated by Cheney’s public insistence that Trump’s court docket challenges to state election outcomes had been unpersuasive and that he wanted to respect “the sanctity of our electoral course of.” On the time of Trump’s speech, Cheney was within the Home cloakroom awaiting the ritual state-by-state tabulation of electoral votes. Her father referred to as her to tell her of Trump’s comment. Lower than an hour later, a mob was banging in opposition to the doorways of the Home chamber.
Within the convention assembly, Cheney mentioned that she stood by her vote to question Trump. A number of members had requested her to apologize, however, she mentioned, “I can’t try this.”
The road to the microphone was terribly lengthy. Not less than half of the audio system indicated that they’d vote to take away Cheney. Ralph Norman of South Carolina expressed disappointment in her vote. “However the different factor that bothers me, Liz,” he went on, “is your angle. You’ve obtained a defiant angle.” John Rutherford of Florida, a former sheriff, accused the chairwoman of not being a “staff participant.”
Others argued that her announcement a day earlier than the impeachment vote had given the Democrats a speaking level to make use of in opposition to the remainder of the Republican convention. (“Good for her for honoring her oath of workplace,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointedly remarked when informed of Cheney’s intentions.) Likening the state of affairs to a soccer sport, Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania lamented, “You lookup into the stands and see your girlfriend on the opposition’s aspect — that’s one hell of a tricky factor to swallow.”