Yes, that’s correct.
Frankly, I think it’s heartwarming that Trump’s handpicked MAGA endorsee can come together with Never Trumpers and acknowledge this shared reality.
The Times reported a few days ago that Cheney’s challenger, Harriet Hageman, was a stalwart anti-Trumper in 2016, even going so far as to try to unbind delegates at the GOP convention so that they could nominate Ted Cruz instead. Last night CNN unearthed the clip below of Hageman warmly endorsing her friend Liz in her House race that same year. I wonder how much other A/V of her talking up Cheney exists on the Internet somewhere, soon to be featured in Cheney campaign ads.
The most noteworthy line is “there have been and will continue to be concerted efforts to force true conservatives to sit down and shut up.” That’s a reference to MAGA, whom Hageman had fought so bitterly at the convention in hopes of replacing Trump with Cruz. Five years later, she’s all-in on getting true conservatives to sit down and shut up.
NEW: A video from April 2016 shows Liz Cheney’s Trump-backed primary Harriet Hageman rebuking Trump and enthusiastically endorsing Cheney for Congress. Hageman even cites her own Trump opposition in her Cheney endorsement. https://t.co/W4YhR0yzxV pic.twitter.com/Cu3aBKsyWN
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) September 30, 2021
“Those efforts have never worked on me,” she boasts about the Trumpist effort to steamroll conservative opposition. Harriet, I have bad news.
In fact, this clip is a sterling example of how little Trump values loyalty in the abstract. He values loyalty to him, and seems to particularly relish converting former Never Trumpers into simpering acolytes. But if he cared about loyalty as a virtue, he would have laughed off Hageman’s attempt to win his endorsement. There are a thousand other Republicans he could have chosen to primary Cheney who aren’t knifing her in the back the way Hageman is.
But I’m sure that’s what appeals to Trump about her. She’s an unusually stark illustration of the fact that to succeed in GOP politics nowadays, it’s Trump’s ass that has to be kissed, not the Cheneys’.
Hageman gave a “lengthy” statement to CNN last night listing her problems with Cheney after the network inquired about her stance five years ago, but we all know what this comes down to. If Cheney had spoken up in Trump’s defense after January 6 and rallied House Republicans to oppose impeachment, there’d be no serious effort to primary her. Hageman all but admitted as much in her comments to CNN: “At a time when we needed all hands on deck, Liz Cheney jumped ship, dogpaddled to the other side, and is now shooting back at us… When Liz Cheney voted to impeach President Trump, she betrayed Wyoming, she betrayed this country, and she betrayed me. Most of the people of Wyoming feel the same way.” All you have to do to lose your status as a “proven, courageous, constitutional conservative” is try to hold Trump accountable for two months of “stolen election” disinformation that ended with a mob storming the Capitol and attacking cops. Ask Elise Stefanik, who’s much more of a RINO on policy than Cheney is, about that. She knows what it takes to get ahead in the post-Trump GOP.
Are we sure Cheney has her eye first and foremost on getting reelected in Wyoming, though? Hmmmm.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is headed to New Hampshire as she positions herself as a leading Republican opponent to former President Donald Trump.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Cheney is scheduled to keynote an event in New Hampshire, a key early primary state in Republican presidential primaries, as speculation Trump will seek the White House in 2024 heats up. The congresswoman is urging Republican voters, and Republicans in Congress, to abandon their support for Trump, saying his claims that the 2020 election was stolen and his refusal to concede defeat to President Joe Biden disqualify him from political leadership and from holding public office.
Cheney is scheduled to appear in New Hampshire on Nov. 9 to headline an annual gala promoting the First Amendment hosted by the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. According to the school’s website, previous speakers at this event have included Trump and President Joe Biden.
“I’ve never had a conversation with her about 2024,” said a former advisor to Cheney’s father Dick. “If there was going to be a Never Trump candidate, I can’t think of anyone better.” I can’t think of anyone better either — to help get Trump reelected. If Cheney jumps into the next presidential race as an independent, a raft of Never Trump votes on the right that broke for Biden last year will end up being redirected to her. That could be the difference for Trump in Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
If instead she ends up primarying him as a Republican, well, what’s the point? She’ll lose 90/10. Although maybe she’d get in enough hard shots at him on the trail that he’d be weakened for the general election, enabling a Democratic victory. That’s the best I can do to explain why she might be interested in running for president.
Exit question: Speaking of going independent, would Cheney be better off running as an indie in her House race next year? I doubt she’d do better than 40 percent against Hageman in a GOP primary with Trump stumping against her, but as an independent she could conceivably pull enough moderate Republicans and Democrats to win. But why would Dems vote for her when they’ll have their own House nominee? And how many moderate Republicans would decide that they can’t vote for her once she’s formally left the party?