Rep. Liz Cheney criticized Trump for 'embracing insurrection' in a wild speech, deepening a GOP rift

Rep. Liz Cheney criticized Trump for 'embracing insurrection' in a wild speech, deepening a GOP rift
Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., at a press conference on September 23, 2020.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images
  • Rep. Liz Cheney criticized a speech by former president Trump at a GOP event
  • She said Trump was continuing to use language that "provoked violence" on January 6.
  • Trump in the speech insulted critics, and repeated baseless election fraud claims.

Rep. Liz Cheney criticized former president Donald Trump for continuing to use the incendiary rhetoric that she claims provoked the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Cheney was responding to a wild speech Trump gave at a Republican fundraiser which he hosted at his Mar-a-Lago resort Saturday.

In an interview with CBS News the following day, host Margaret Brennan asked Cheney if Trump was the "best messenger for the party" following his speech.

In the address, he repeated his baseless claims the 2020 election was stolen from him by fraud and unleashed insults at critics, branding Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell a "dumb son of a b---h."

Trump is using "the same language that he knows provoked violence on January 6th," replied Cheney, the third-most-powerful Republican in Congress.


She has emerged as one of the former president's most adamant critics in the GOP in the wake of the riot, illustrating a rift between parts of the party leadership and its most recent president.

Cheney was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over his alleged role inciting the January 6 riot, votes which angered Trump and he has spoken of avenging.

Drawing a contrast between Trump and her preferred approach, Cheney said: "As a party, we need to be focused on the future. We need to be focused on embracing the Constitution, not embracing insurrection. And I think it's very important for people to realize that a fundamental part of the Constitution and of who we are as Americans is the rule of law. It's the judicial process.

"The election wasn't stolen. There was a judicial process in place. If you attack the judicial process and you attack the rule of law, you aren't defending the Constitution. You're at war with the Constitution. And for us as a party going forward, we have to embrace the Constitution and we also have to put forward positive solutions."

Trump's remarks drew criticism for other senior Republicans on Sunday as well. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in an interview with CNN said: "Anything that's divisive is a concern and is not helpful for us fighting the battles in Washington and at the state level."


John Thune, Republican Senator from South Dakota, called for party unity in response to the remarks during an interview on Fox News.

Trump's speech on Saturday, in which he veered off-script to attack Republicans including McConnell and former vice president Mike Pence, underscores the division in the party that has emerged since January 6.

While some senior Republicans, including Cheney and McConnell, have blamed Trump for the violence, many of the party's supporters and lawmakers have remained loyal to him.

Trump, deprived of his usual social media platforms after the riot, has been seeking to consolidate his hold on the GOP by stepping up fundraising efforts and endorsing loyalists ahead of the 2022 mid-term elections.