While giving remarks Tuesday at a virtual foreign policy event hosted by the Reagan Institute, Cheney warned her colleagues against the “temptation to look away” from the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to The New York Times.
“It’s very important, especially for us as Republicans, to make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy,” she said. “You saw the symbols of Holocaust denial, for example, at the Capitol that day; you saw the Confederate flag being carried through the rotunda, and I think we as Republicans in particular, have a duty and an obligation to stand against that, to stand against insurrection.”
Of course, when you have to declare you’re not the party of white supremacy, then …
But that wasn’t Cheney’s only cautionary tale:
- She railed against the dangers of Trump’s “America First” policy, drawing a direct line between it and the isolationists who sought to keep the nation out of World War II. The ideas are “just as dangerous today as they were in 1940 when isolationists launched the America First movement to appease Hitler and prevent America from aiding Britain in the fight against the Nazis.” Isolationism, she said, was “wrong and dangerous then and it is wrong and dangerous now.”
- Cheney directly criticized Trump’s feeble response to the murderous Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, calling it an “existential threat to who we are” that “can’t be minimized or trivialized, and it can never happen again.”
- Cheney also assailed the right-wing media outlets that supported Trump’s Big Lie that the election had been stolen for “contributing to a very dangerous set of circumstances.”
Basically, everything Cheney said put her directly at odds with her counterparts in the House GOP leadership. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has vacillated on whether Trump was directly responsible for the deadly Jan. 6 riot, and Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana is fresh off a Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week in which he refused to deny the election was stolen from Trump, thereby deliberately giving life to the same baseless disinformation that fueled the Jan. 6 riot.
Cheney’s alienation from the rest of the House GOP leadership was on full display again Wednesday after a reporter asked McCarthy and Cheney whether Trump should participate in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“Yes, he should,” McCarthy responded curtly.
Immediately after, Cheney offered that is was “up to CPAC.” But following Jan. 6, she added, “I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”
McCarthy decided it was time to cut their losses. “On that high note, thank you very much.”