Some described it as a tragedy. Others said it was somewhat justified. And others said they didn’t like Liz Cheney much, but they also didn’t like what happened to her.
Regardless of what people thought in Jackson Hole, the Teton County resident and Wyoming’s lone voice in the U.S. House of Representatives lost her leadership position in the House Republican Conference on Wednesday.
Her ouster came after she spent months rebuking former President Donald Trump’s false assertions that the Nov. 3 election was stolen and condemning him for encouraging his supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., previously spoke against removing Cheney when she survived a similar push in February. But this time around he backed the movement, joining Trump in publicly supporting Cheney’s removal.
The closed-door voice vote took less than 20 minutes Wednesday.
The Wyoming legislator nevertheless remained defiant.
“If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person,” she told her colleagues beforehand, according to a person who provided her remarks to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
“You have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy,” Cheney said.
Cheney’s actions have put her in hot water in Wyoming, in which roughly 70% of voters cast ballots for both her and the former president during the 2020 election. After she voted to impeach the president for his role in inciting the January violence at the Capitol, the Wyoming Republican Party voted to censure her — and did so with an overwhelming majority.
Teton County’s three delegates to that conference were not in that group. They all voted against censure, with some arguing that it was Cheney’s right to “vote her conscience.”
Mary Martin, the newly elected chair of the Teton County GOP, was one of those people. But her opinions about Cheney’s removal from House leadership were more mixed.
Martin told the Jackson Hole Daily she “still was not persuaded that the election wasn’t tampered with” and was “really perplexed why everyone in the country wouldn’t want to be making sure that what we have [is] an election system [that] is tamper-proof.”
The GOP chair still felt that if Republicans didn’t think Cheney was doing a good job, they should take her down at the ballot box. But, she said, Cheney put herself in “a minority view.”
“The party needs to have a leader they are willing to line up behind,” Martin said.
Martin’s views are not necessarily representative of all Jackson Hole Republicans.
Alex Muromcew, the former Teton County GOP chair who now serves as the party’s vice chair, was not happy with House Republicans’ decision.
“I think it’s a real tragedy, and I think it was also so unnecessary,” he told the Daily. “Cheney is a true patriot and truly respects the Constitution, and I think it’s pretty ridiculous that she had a much stronger voting record than her successor does.”
Muromcew was referring to Cheney’s voting record on Trump’s agenda compared with the heir apparent to her position, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.
FiveThirtyEight reported that Cheney voted with Trump 92.9% of the time compared to Stefanik’s 77.7%.
Per Fox News, Cheney also received superior scores from the conservative group Heritage Action. That policy advocacy group gave the Wyoming Republican an 82% and the New York conservative, whose voting record is more moderate, a 56%.
Muromcew also pushed back against claims that the election was stolen. He cited, among other things, Trump appointee and former U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s assertion that the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Some people approached by the Daily on Wednesday morning and afternoon said they weren’t interested in talking about the situation. Others said they lived “under a rock” and didn’t know what was going on.
One person leaving Albertsons declined to comment beyond saying, “I don’t like her.” The person didn’t say why, and it’s difficult to know which way they were leaning. People across the political spectrum are not pleased with Wyoming’s representative, either for her outspoken criticism of Trump or her conservative policy stances. But some in the latter camp gritted their teeth and lauded Cheney for speaking up — and losing her GOP conference position because of it.
Maggie Hunt, chair of the Teton County Democrats, said that her party generally disagrees with “many of Liz Cheney’s votes and stances, but she’s a woman of integrity, and I hope that she will be the Republican candidate again in 2022.”
“I think it’s a shame that Liz Cheney is being censured for speaking the truth,” Hunt added. “Trump lost the election, and the Republican Party is not only refusing to accept the outcome of the election, they are perpetuating the lie.”
Teton County resident Kamaya Cohen spoke with the Daily outside the U.S. Post Office on Maple Way. Cohen is an independent and has supported Cheney in the past because of her support for Israel. But she is not a fan of her stance on social issues.
“I do not agree with all of her policies by any stretch of the imagination,” Cohen said, but “she knew that she was putting her political career at risk by sticking up for what she believes is right. And that is something that is far too rare nowadays.”
Cohen said she’d support Cheney going forward, but not the Republican Party.
“I think the Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot,” she said. “I think they are very short-sighted. I think they’re selling their soul to the devil.”
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.