May 28, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney says Republicans "wanted me to lie" about Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) gives a concession speech to supporters during a primary night event on August 16, 2022 in Jackson, Wyoming

Former Rep. Liz Cheney in Jackson, Wyo., last August. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told Colorado College graduates in a commencement speech Sunday the U.S. "cannot remain a free nation if we abandon the truth," as she took aim at fellow Republicans and former President Trump.

What she's saying: "My fellow Republicans wanted me to lie. They wanted me to say the 2020 election was stolen, the attack of Jan. 6th wasn't a big deal, and Donald Trump wasn't dangerous," said the former vice chair of the Jan. 6 panel that investigated the Capitol riot, who hasn't ruled out running for president in the 2024.

  • "I had to choose between lying and losing my position in House leadership," continued Cheney, who was ousted as the No. 3 House Republican after she called out Trump's false election claims.
  • "As I spoke to my colleagues on my last morning as chair of the Republican conference, I told them that if they wanted a leader who would lie, they should choose someone else," added the 1988 Colorado College graduate.
  • "No party, no nation, no people can defend and perpetuate a constitutional republic if they accept leaders who have gone to war with the rule of law, with the democratic process, with the peaceful transfer of power, with the Constitution itself."

Of note: While most applauded Cheney's commencement speech, about half of the 450 graduates turned their chairs so they showed their backs to the now-University of Virginia professor in protest against her voting history on issues including LGBTQ+ rights, per The Gazette.

Meanwhile, Cheney called on more women to take up office.

  • "You may have noticed that men are pretty much running things these days, and it’s not really going all that well," she said. "You can change that."

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