American Opinion: Wyoming Republicans affirm that principles no longer apply. Only Trump matters
From the editorial: What are (Liz Cheney's) crimes? Cheney stands convicted of defending democracy. She stands convicted of defending the truth over lies. She stands convicted of prioritizing the Constitution over blind loyalty to former President Donald Trump. For that, Cheney paid the ultimate price of losing her job as Wyoming’s sole House member.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney is hardly the only Republican to suffer at the polls for having placed principle over party, but she’s definitely the most high-profile one because of her leadership role on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.
In Wyoming’s Republican primary Tuesday, voters decided it was time for Cheney to go. Even before the vote, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was lauding her defeat. This despite a rating by the Conservative Political Action Conference that put her conservative voting record on a par with McCarthy himself.
What are her crimes? Cheney stands convicted of defending democracy. She stands convicted of defending the truth over lies. She stands convicted of prioritizing the Constitution over blind loyalty to former President Donald Trump. For that, Cheney paid the ultimate price of losing her job as Wyoming’s sole House member.
A situation that is appalling in so many ways is perhaps most galling by the way some of her like-minded allies in Congress — including Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner — abandoned her even if they secretly agreed with her principled stand. Their cowardly silence in the wake of the most serious attack on democratic principles since the Civil War should tell non-Trumpian voters everything they need to know about where today’s Republican Party stands.
It’s no longer about law and order, or the political and economic freedoms touted in the GOP platform. The party stands for one thing, and one thing only: Donald Trump — his bogus claims of election fraud, his encouragement of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, and his assertion that his rights were somehow violated after he refused to hand over classified government documents stored in an unguarded basement at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Cheney’s crime was refusing that twisted charade. She sacrificed none of the traditional conservative values her party once stood for. The only thing she refused to do was blindly support Trump no matter what he said or did. For that, she is officially a Republican pariah.
Cheney’s campaign website states that “the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law” and respect for the Constitution. Without the rule of law — and the equal application of it regardless of political status — America would surely descend into chaos. Some would argue the nation already is heading that way.
Wyoming’s example should tell voters elsewhere everything they need to know about the new Trumpian Republican Party. It stands for no principles whatsoever. It is a Trump-worshipping cult.
Cheney’s closing remarks in the select committee’s July 21 hearing — “We must remember that we cannot abandon the truth and remain a free nation” — go far to explain what she stands for, and why it was worth sacrificing her congressional seat. But most of her party today stands for the exact opposite.
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