Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the most vociferous NeverTrumpers on the right and the highest-profile GOP representative to vote for former President Donald Trump’s impeachment last year, is one of only two Republicans selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to sit on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, incursion at the Capitol.
The committee members are currently seeking to obtain the cooperation of GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who they say communicated with then-President Trump on the day of the violence.
Jordan is refusing to cooperate, and with good reason: He knows a rigged game when he sees one. See, Cheney — the more prominent of the two Republicans on the committee — confirmed last week that she blamed Jordan for the riot with a foul-mouthed tirade while the chaos was still taking place.
According to The Hill, the embattled Wyoming representative used a podcast published Thursday to confirm a long-standing rumor that she went off on Jordan on the day of the incursion, telling him, “Get away from me, you f***ing did this.”
This kind of behavior is hardly new for Cheney, who’s been trying to turn anti-Trump sentiment and classic RINO posturing into a political brand. We’re intent on spotlighting Cheney — and others who want to take the party back to the lukewarm, Dem-lite days of yore — as they try to pour old RINO wine into new bottles. You can help us do this by subscribing.
Cheney’s remarks to Jordan initially surfaced in Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker’s book “I Alone Can Fix It,” one of numerous tell-alls about the Trump administration. This one focused on Trump’s final year — and, naturally, the events of Jan. 6, including Cheney telling Jordan “you f***ing did this” as lawmakers were being led away from the Capitol.
Cheney had, according to the book, relayed the remarks to Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a phone call: “That f***ing guy Jim Jordan. That son of a bitch,” she reportedly told Milley.
“While these maniacs are going through the place, I’m standing in the aisle and he said, ‘We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you.’ I smacked his hand away and told him, ‘Get away from me. You f***ing did this.’ ”
The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro, interviewing Cheney for the Times’ “The Daily” podcast, asked if the story was true. She responded that it was.
“I was in the aisle, on the aisle and he [Jordan] came over to me, you know, and basically said, ‘we need to get the ladies away from the aisle.’ And, you know, I had watched for the months since the election what was going on and the lies that have been told to people,” Cheney said.
“And, you know, it was both that I, you know, certainly didn’t need his help, and secondly, I thought clearly that the lie that they had been spreading and telling people had absolutely contributed to what we were living through at that moment.”
And now, of course, the committee wants to talk to Jordan.
“We understand that you had at least one and possibly multiple communications with President Trump on January 6th. We would like to discuss each such communication with you in detail,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, wrote in a letter to Jordan, according to The Hill.
“Public reporting suggests that you may also have information about meetings with White House officials and the then-President in November and December 2020, and early-January 2021, about strategies for overturning the results of the 2020 election.”
Jordan, for his part, has declined the sit-down, writing in a letter to Thompson that the “request is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core Constitutional principles, and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”
Furthermore, it’s not difficult to grasp what the predetermined conclusions the committee will reach will be: That Donald Trump attempted a “coup,” anyone on his side was a “coup-plotter,” that the Capitol incursion was a not-unintended consequence of said “coup” and therefore, that everyone to the right of Liz Cheney — particularly the Trump White House’s close allies, like Jordan — bears special responsibility for the unrest.
But then, Liz Cheney had already reached this conclusion on Jan. 6, 2021 — albeit in saltier language.
This probably isn’t going to help Cheney politically, although she may already know she’s doomed, at least in her current political party. The Wyoming GOP has stopped recognizing her as a Republican and polls indicate she’s in trouble with the party’s voters.
According to the Washington Examiner, Cheney trailed Trump-endorsed primary challenger Harriet Hageman by a 38 percent to 18 percent margin in a December poll, with another challenger, state Rep. Anthony Bouchard, at 12 percent. The newspaper reported in July that only 23 percent of potential GOP primary voters said they’d vote for her, compared to 77 percent who said they wouldn’t.
A politician facing such stiff rejection from her own party might try to pretend that tough talk to a colleague might improve her image, but the opposite is true. In that context, a tirade like this — that comes across as both petty and arrogant at the same time — is worse than embarrassing. It’s humiliating, whether Cheney grasps that or not.
But at least she got to blame Jim Jordan for the Capitol riot and then sit on a committee in which she pretends to impartially judge the role he and other Republicans played in the events of Jan. 6. She’ll always have that.