Aug 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Former VP Dick Cheney calls Trump "coward" in campaign ad for Liz Cheney

Dick Cheney is seen in a campaign ad shared on Aug. 4, 2022, for daughter Liz Cheney. Video via Liz Cheney Campaign YouTube

In a new campaign ad for his daughter Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), former Vice President Dick Cheney said there is "no greater threat to our republic" than Donald Trump.

Driving the news: Liz Cheney, vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee, is facing a tough election in Wyoming's Republican primary on Aug. 16 against Trump-backed foe Harriet Hageman and faces a likely defeat.

  • Although Dick Cheney criticized Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot, the former vice president calling him out so directly marks a shift from Liz Cheney's previous campaign ads that focused more on her accomplishments for the people of Wyoming.

The big picture: Liz Cheney has long been a fierce critic of Trump, and her criticism of the former president has made her a pariah with Republicans in the House — where she once was the highest-ranking female Republican — and in Wyoming, where her family has long been considered political nobility, Axios' Alayna Treene writes.

What they're saying: "In our nation's 246 year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump," Dick Cheney said in the ad.

  • "He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him. He is a coward," Cheney continued.
  • "A real man wouldn't lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know it, he knows it, and deep down, I think most Republicans know it."
  • "Liz is fearless. ... There is nothing more important she will ever do than lead the effort to make sure Donald Trump is never again near the Oval Office and she will succeed," Cheney said, adding that he proudly voted for his daughter.

Context: Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump, has been polling significantly behind her Trump-endorsed primary opponent for the state's at-large House seat.

  • Still, Cheney said last week that ensuring Americans know the truth about Trump and protecting American democracy is a higher priority than maintaining a seat in the House.
  • "I am working hard here in Wyoming to earn every vote, but I will also say this: I'm not going to lie. I'm not going to say things that aren't true about the election. My opponents are doing that, certainly, simply for the purpose of getting elected," Cheney said on CNN's "State of the Union."

By the numbers: At least six of the 10 House Republicans who voted for former President Trump's impeachment last year will not return next Congress — and that number is poised to rise, Axios' Andrew Solender reports.

Flashback: Dick Cheney, a staunch conservative, has recently criticized his party and Republicans' reactions to the Jan. 6 riot.

  • "It's not leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years," Cheney said to a CNN reporter back in January.
  • "I'm deeply disappointed we don't have better leadership in the Republican Party to restore the Constitution," the former vice president said in an ABC interview at the time.
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