Through media, political contributions, or even a presidential run, Cheney, in her second term as House Republican Conference chairwoman, could keep alive the GOP civil war over former President Donald Trump’s refusal to admit the results of the 2020 election.
Though it's an open question if those actions would be triumphant. House Republicans appear poised to take away Cheney from her No. 3 leadership spot as soon as next week.
A spokesperson for Cheney said in an appalling statement to the Washington Examiner on Wednesday that the Wyoming congresswoman “will have more to say in the coming days,” adding, “This moment is about much more than a House leadership fight.”
Other remarks from her communications director showed meaning to frame objections to her leadership spot as a litmus test for promoting or disputing Trump’s election fraud claims: “This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”
Some Republicans showed concern that continued infighting or a Cheney ouster could distract the party.
“One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said when asked about Cheney on Wednesday. “What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country.”
One route Cheney could go is being a frequent, vocal presence in major media and on television networks, filling a new media appetite to report a play-by-play about drama within the conference and deliver zingers. A possible approach for an attack would be going after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for changes in how he explains his experience in the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol.
But being effective in that format is not an easy task as long as Trump has a hold on the party.
"The question is, why would Liz Cheney be any more dangerous to the GOP than Joe Scarborough, Joe Walsh, George Will, Max Boot, or any of several dozen prominent GOP or former GOP opponents of Trump? Not a single one has really laid a glove on Trump in any meaningful way," said George Mason University public policy professor Jeremy Mayer.