“It can’t survive if he’s our nominee,” Cheney said on ABC News’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
The warning marks an escalation in rhetoric as Trump flirts with another run for the White House. Trump lost to President Joe Biden in 2020 but continues to claim the election was stolen.
Last year, Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, told the host, “I will do everything I can to make sure Trump’s not the nominee and, you know, everything necessary to make sure he never gets anywhere near the Oval Office again.”
Her new comments underscore how Cheney is not backing down from her break with much of the GOP as she faces a tough primary challenge by Harriet Hageman, who is endorsed by Trump, in August.
“I don’t think the party would survive that,” Cheney added in the interview that aired Sunday. “I believe in the party, and I believe in what the party can be and what the party can stand for. And I’m not ready to give that up. … Those of us who believe in Republican principles and ideals have a responsibility to try to lead the party back to what it can be, and to reject, and to reject so much of the toxin and the vitriol.”
Cheney is helping lead a summer slate of hearings held by the Jan. 6 committee, which is working to tie Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the Capitol riot. The congresswoman said millions of people have been “betrayed” by Trump and his claims of election fraud, which have been roundly rejected by election officials and the courts.
“That is a really painful thing for people to recognize and to admit, but it’s absolutely the case, and they’ve been betrayed by him, by the Big Lie,” Cheney said. “And by what he continues to do and say to tear apart our country and tear apart our party, and I think we have to reject that.”