Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., joined 222 Democratic and nine other Republican representatives on Wednesday in voting to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
Trump is the only president in U.S. history to have been impeached twice.
“It’s a moment of real peril,” Cheney told Wyoming reporters in a press conference Wednesday, referencing images of National Guardsmen sleeping on the floor of the U.S. Capitol that she said were “reminiscent of the Civil War.”
“It’s a moment when it’s important for all of us to recognize that our republic is very fragile,” Wyoming’s lone delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives continued, “and that we all have an obligation to ensure we’re doing everything that we’re compelled to do by our oaths to ensure the survival of that republic.”
The Teton County resident and leader of GOP messaging in the House as its third-ranking Republican again tied her vote to the Jan. 6 violence in Washington, D.C. That day, a mob of Trump supporters egged on by the president stormed the federal building, causing damage and sending lawmakers into hiding as they met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. At least five people involved have died, including a Capitol Police officer.
Asked about conservative Wyomingites’ concerns with her vote for impeachment, Cheney said the violence necessitated it.
“People showed up with weapons; they showed up with zip ties in order to take hostages,” Cheney said. “This was an insurrection; it was an attack on the very heart of our republic.”
Barbara Allen, a former Republican chairwoman of the Teton County Board of County Commissioners, supported Cheney’s decision.
“I was very clear when [Trump] was in the primaries in 2016 that I would never vote for him, that he doesn’t represent, in my opinion, Republican values or American values, and that he’s incredibly disrespectful to anybody who has a difference of opinion,” Allen told the Jackson Hole Daily. “As someone who’s facing a Wyoming electorate in two years, it took a whole lot of moxie to do that,” she added of Cheney. “I wish there had been more people in the House that had.”
Marti Halverson, an Etna Republican who formerly represented parts of Teton, Lincoln and Sublette counties in the Wyoming House of Representatives, said the vote was “disappointing” because Cheney “didn’t stand with our Republican president.”
Asked whether she thought action should be taken against Trump for his role in inciting the U.S. Capitol mob, Halverson pointed fingers elsewhere.
“I would be supportive of censure as soon as they support censure for Maxine Waters for telling her supporters to harass us when we’re out in public, as soon as they censure the Red Hen Restaurant for kicking the president’s spokeswoman out of the restaurant,” Halverson said.
Rep. Waters, D-Calif., called on her supporters in 2018 to confront Trump administration officials amid controversy about its “zero tolerance” policy, which led to the separation of families at the U.S. southern border. The Red Hen, a Lexington, Virginia, restaurant, infamously kicked out then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during the same controversy.
“In the absence of any of those censures, I would not support the censure of President Trump,” Halverson said, saying she would like to see Wyoming’s congressional delegation mount “resistance” to Democratic policies going forward.
Asked about conservative lawmakers’ push to remove her from leadership, Cheney looked to the future, promising to promote an “alternative” to the Biden-Harris administration’s policies.
“Once we get through this period ... we will very much be focused on policy and on laying out an agenda, and a positive agenda, for the future,” Cheney said. “It’ll be one that will allow us to win the majority back in two years.”
Asked about her vote against encouraging Vice President Mike Pence to remove the embattled president from office using the 25th Amendment, Cheney deferred to the separation of powers. She answered similarly when asked to compare her support for impeachment with opposition from Wyoming’s Republican Sens. Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso.
Whether the U.S. Senate will convict Trump remains to be seen.
Cheney did not say whether she supports removing Trump from the presidency before his term ends, or barring him from running for office again.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate could vote on the latter if it convicts the electorally defeated president.
“We in the House have one constitutional obligation, and that was to determine whether or not the president’s actions constitute high crimes and misdemeanors,” Cheney told reporters. “And so that’s what we’ve done. And now, the article will go to the Senate, and the Senate will proceed from there.”
This article has been updated to correct Maxine Waters' title. Water is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California. — Eds.