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Former Vice President Dick Cheney calls former President Donald Trump a “coward” and argues that Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is “fearless,” as he stars in the latest ad released by his daughter’s re-election campaign.
“In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump. He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him,” the elder Cheney says in the ad, which the younger Cheney started running on Thursday, a week and a half before she faces a Trump-endorsed challenger in the Republican congressional primary Wyoming’s single congressional seat.
“He is a coward. 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,” the former vice president claims, as he points to Trump’s repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to President Biden was due to massive voter fraud.
Liz Cheney was the most senior of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol. The attack was waged by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.
Cheney, a conservative lawmaker and defense hawk, immediately came under verbal attack from Trump and his allies, and in May of last year, she was ousted from her number-three House GOP leadership position.
She has been vocal in emphasizing the importance of defending the nation’s democratic process and of putting country before party, and is one of only two Republicans serving on a special select committee organized by House Democrats that is investigating the riot at the Capitol. The committee has made headlines and grabbed plenty of national attention this summer as it has held televised hearings.
Trump, stepping up his efforts to oust Cheney from Congress, endorsed Harriet Hageman as she entered the race last summer. And the former president and his allies successfully urged some, but not all, of the other anti-Cheney candidates to drop out of the primary and coalesce around Hageman.
Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman speaks with voters at an Albany County GOP breakfast in Laramie, Wyoming, on Jan. 8, 2022. (Harriet Hageman congressional campaign)
Cheney’s campaign tells Fox News the new ad will run statewide in Wyoming on TV and on digital and streaming platforms and is backed by a six-figure buy.
In the spot, the former vice president says that he and his wife, former second lady Lynne Cheney, “are so proud of Liz for standing up for the truth, doing what is right, honoring her oath to the Constitution when so many in our own party are too scared to do so. Liz is fearless. She never backs down from a fight.”
“There is nothing more important she will ever do than lead the effort to make sure Donald Trump is never near the Oval Office again. And she will succeed,” the former second in command says. “I am Dick Cheney. I proudly voted for my daughter. And I hope you will too.”
Cheney caught a break in March when the Wyoming legislature decided against scrapping same-day party registration in primaries, which would have prevented Democrats from crossing party lines and registering as Republicans to vote for her in the state’s primary. The move by Wyoming’s legislature was seen as a defeat for Trump and his allies, who pushed to end same-day party registration.
Trump’s repeated attacks on Cheney have also fueled her record fundraising over the past year. But, while Cheney has enjoyed a vast fundraising advantage over Hageman, the most recent polling in the primary suggested Hageman was holding a very large double-digit lead over the embattled incumbent.
Cheney, in two recent Sunday talk show appearances, noted that her leadership role on the House Jan. 6 select committee trumps her efforts to win re-election for a fourth term representing Wyoming in the House.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., listen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington on June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
“I am working hard to earn every single vote,” Cheney said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” But she emphasized, “Given the choice between maintaining my seat in the House of Representatives on the one hand or ensuring the survival of our constitutional republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I will choose the Constitution and the truth every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
Hageman campaign adviser Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to Fox News that “Liz Cheney should drop the pretense that she’s running for re-election. She’s been raising money from Democrats in California and New York for months for her fever dream of running for president.”
“Voters know that she’s abandoned her job of representing Wyoming and instead is pursuing her own personal war with Donald Trump,” Murtaugh claimed. “It’s why people are fed up with her, and this ad just reinforces that point. This ad will raise more dollars from Democrats, but in a Republican race in Wyoming it just reminds people why they’re voting for Harriet Hageman.”
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.