Dec 4, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Dick Cheney told Liz to "defend the Republic" days before Jan. 6

Liz Cheney book cover for "Oath and Honor"

Cover: Little, Brown

Three days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, then-Rep. Liz Cheney and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated the publication of an open letter in the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The letter, signed by all 10 living secretaries of defense, stressed the dangers of the military getting involved in the outcome of the election.

Driving the news: In an excerpt from her forthcoming book, "Oath and Honor," out Tuesday, Cheney describes sitting in her father's study on New Year's Eve, on the phone with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his daughter, Marcy, to secure his signature for the letter:

"When my dad finished reading, he paused. Rumsfeld said he would sign on. Then Marcy spoke up, her voice breaking with emotion: 'Thank God someone is finally doing something.' "The next day, Phil, the kids, and I went to my parents' house for a New Year's Day lunch. As we were leaving, my father came outside to the driveway. He walked around to the passenger side of my car and gave me a hug. Then he looked at me and with steel in his voice said, 'Defend the republic, daughter.'"

"I will, Dad," Cheney replied. "Always."

The big picture: Cheney became a household name during the House's Jan. 6 hearings.

  • She was one of the few Republicans to serve on the select committee investigating the Capitol attack and willing to criticize former President Trump.
  • The Department of Justice has since charged Trump in connection with his efforts to remain in power, despite losing the 2020 presidential race.

Go deeper: Liz Cheney slams Trump after Wyoming GOP primary loss

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