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Immediately following her loss to Harriet Hageman in Wyoming’s Republican primary, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., unveiled her next move, launching a new organization with the primary goal of keeping former President Donald Trump from regaining the presidency.
The group, called The Great Task, gets its name from a phrase in the Gettysburg Address, and Cheney invoked President Abraham Lincoln in calling for the Republican Party to go back to its roots.
“We’ve to get this party back to the principles and values on which it was founded,” Cheney said in an interview with NBC’s “Today Show” Wednesday morning, claiming that it has lost its way in focusing too much on Trump and his “cult of personality.”
Cheney noted that in the past she has garnered more than 70% of the votes in her district’s primary, and that “the path to that same victory would have been very easy,” but she felt it was more important to focus on her opposition to Trump. Those efforts, which include her work on the Democrat-led House January 6 Committee, led to Trump backing Hageman in the primary race. With 99% of votes counted early Wednesday morning, Hageman led Cheney by more than 37 points.
“There’s no political office that’s more important than the principles that we take an oath to defend,” Cheney said, seemingly regretting nothing about her decision to focus on Trump instead of local issues.
Moving forward, Cheney said she will resume her work in the House until her term ends, and that she and her organization will continue to go after Trump.
“I think that defeating him is going to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents. And that’s what I intend to be part of,” she said.
Cheney holds Trump directly responsible for the Capitol riot that took place on Jan. 6, 2021, at one point in the interview saying that “Trump attacked the Capitol,” then amending that to say that he “sent a mob to attack the Capitol.” The former president’s defenders point to how Trump said in a speech that day that protesters of the election results should remain peaceful.
When asked by Savannah Guthrie if Cheney had lost sight of the issues her constituents in Wyoming cared about, Cheney said that “as a nation, you don’t get the opportunity to debate and discuss any other issue” when facing “a fundamental threat on our on our republic.”
To that end, Cheney made it clear that she will continue with her sole focus.
“I will do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office,” she stated.
When asked if that includes running for president herself in 2024, Cheney said she was not ready to make that call just yet, but said she will make that decision “in the coming months.”
While Cheney has been accused of abandoning her party – her campaign even courted Democrats, urging them to switch parties so they could vote for her in the primary – she believes that in following Trump, the GOP has lost its way. She said that Trump “betrayed Republican voters,” and asserted that the party has to return to its core principles of small government, strong defense, low taxes, and family.
“Those are the principles I believe in. That’s what the party used to stand for, and we’ve got to get the party back to that,” she said.