Fox News host Bret Baier grilled Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) in a hard-hitting interview on Thursday evening after House Republicans overwhelmingly voted to oust her as the party’s Conference Chair over her obsession with focusing on former President Donald Trump vs. focusing on President Joe Biden.
During the interview, Cheney appeared to be even more resolute in her desire to go after Trump over focusing on Biden, a point that Baier brought up.
Cheney repeatedly said that those who were criticizing her were wrong or misinformed, and she looked to pick fights with Fox News during the interview.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: I want to talk about the situation up on Capitol Hill, your political situation. your colleagues concluded that you couldn’t be effective as the GOP conference chair because of your eagerness to challenge former President Trump on his election claims. To be honest, do you agree with them? Could you have done that job considering what you were saying and doing?
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): You know, I think the question really is what kind of a party are we going to be going forward, Bret? And I think that it’s very important for us to be a party based on truth. I think it’s important for us to understand the threat that the claims the former president is making, the threat is ongoing. I think we know that the kinds of language we’ve heard from him has caused violence in the past. And there’s clearly an attempt to unravel the democracy, if you will, by focusing on challenging the legitimacy of the election, moving us away from, abandoning the rule of law. And so I think that for us, as Republicans, we have a huge set of issues, we’ve got to be able to defeat the Democrats over, and we’ve got a huge set of policies we’ve got to be able to implement, we have to get people to vote for us. And we can’t do that if we are a party that’s based on a foundation of lies. I think what the former president’s doing is dangerous.
BAIER: But you and your colleagues for, at least in part, were elected to block the Biden agenda, which Republicans believe is too far-left and could lead to other things. Aren’t they correct to claim that your focus on the election, and President Trump was somehow not going to get them to that goal?
CHENEY: No, I think that’s actually wrong, Bret. I think if you look at where we’ve been since the election, since January 6, we’ve had a real focus on making sure people understand that the Biden policies are dangerous. If you look at the impact for the people of Wyoming — banning oil and gas leases on public lands is really dangerous. It’s really heartless. We’ve been very clear about that. What’s happening at the border is very dangerous. So the issue isn’t whether or not we stand against the Biden policies. The issue is, are we going to be a party that sits by silently while the former president continues to perpetuate lies about the election? And it is the case that there are too many people in the leadership of the Republican Party today who’ve been willing not only to sit by silently, but to help enable that, to help embolden those claims. And that’s dangerous for the country.
BAIER: So, if you look at the numbers in Wyoming, 70% of Wyoming voted for President Trump, actually more people voted for President Trump than voted for you, a higher percentage voted for President Trump. Now you’re saying you’re dedicating your life to opposing him. So why — we’ll put up those numbers — why should Wyoming voters, say, re-elect you when you’re spending so much energy opposing him? So little opposing Biden?
CHENEY: Well, you’re wrong.
BAIER: No, no. I mean these are the numbers.
CHENEY: No, I’m not disputing the numbers, but I’m disputing your characterization of what I’m doing. I think it’s really important for us to be as strong as possible in defeating the Biden policies. We cannot do that if we enable a lie. We cannot do that if we fail to learn the lessons from the 2020 election. And the people of Wyoming believe deeply in the Constitution, the people of Wyoming know that we must use the Constitution as our shield, that we must defend the Constitution. And so when you look at the challenge that the former president is presenting right now, still today, claiming that the election was stolen, claiming that our electoral process does not accurately reflect the will of the people, no remorse or regret for January 6, continuing to use the language that we know inspired violence in the past—
BAIER: And you’ve said that and … you should because you believe in principle, I get it.
CHENEY: –but I continue to say it though, but I continue to say it because–
BAIER: But for the people of Wyoming who are electing a congressperson to fight for them and to fight against the Biden agenda, why wouldn’t they say, ‘Is this the person that’s going to get it done?’ And that’s what your colleagues are asking.
CHENEY: I’m going to I’m going to answer the question. We all have an obligation. And I would say Fox News, especially, especially Fox News, has a particular obligation to make sure people know the election wasn’t stolen.
BAIER: And we’ve said that numerous times.
CHENEY: Fox News, Fox News, Bret, I’m going to answer your question. Fox News needs to—
BAIER: No, but if you’re mentioning Fox News, you have to know that this show has said that numerous times.
CHENEY: —make sure that the American people, they need to make sure that the American people. Bret, you’re doing the interview, I’m answering the questions. We need to make sure that the American people recognize and understand that the election wasn’t stolen, that we shouldn’t perpetuate the big lie, and that there’s real danger. You know, I’ve worked in countries around the world where we don’t have peaceful transitions of power. And all of us who are elected officials have got to make sure that we obey and abide by the oath that we swore to the Constitution, and that the peaceful transition of power is key to that. Now, if you want to, if you’re asking me about my constituents, my constituents believe firmly in the rule of law, they believe firmly in the Constitution, they know that we do not swear allegiance to any individual—
BAIER: Ok, let me ask you this—
CHENEY: And it’s crucially important—
BAIER: And you’ve made this point—
CHENEY: —I’m going to make another point, it’s crucially important if we want to be able to defeat the really bad Biden policies, we have to attract voters back to us. We have to attract the voters who left us by making clear that we know that the election wasn’t stolen and we are going to abide by the rule of law.
BAIER: Do you believe that America is better off with President Biden than President Trump?
CHENEY: I believe that President Trump’s policies, which I supported 93% of the time, were much better for America. Now, that isn’t the issue, though. The issue is whether or not we abide by the rule of law.
BAIER: Did you vote for Joe Biden?
CHENEY: I did not, and I would not, and I would not vote for a Democrat, ever. The issue is whether or not we are going to stand up for the rule of law and stand up for the Constitution, that is above partisanship. It’s above politics. I think that Americans across Wyoming and across the country know we have to be a party of truth. We’ve got to be a party that stands for substance; we have to be a party of Reagan that looks at a strong national defense, low taxes, limited government. We have to be about ideas, not about a cult of personality to one man who launched a violent attack on the Capitol and who continues to say the election was stolen.
BAIER: I’m going to read you a tweet. Here it is, ‘Republicans deserve leadership that represents the views of their constituents, not their own personal vendettas. We need leaders in Congress that stand up for conservative Republican ideology. Liz Cheney is not that leader. So instead of training fire on the president, she really should have been training fire on Biden and that agenda … that’s what you want out of your leadership, [and] unfortunately … she didn’t rise to that challenge.’ You know who that tweet is? George P. Bush, the nephew of President Bush, who tweeted that out yesterday. That is a feeling, as you know, and you’ve heard it from your colleagues. So how do you react to that?
CHENEY: Well, he’s misinformed. I think that, you know, when you look at what we are facing as a nation, there is nothing that we need to do as Republicans that is more important than have a strong Republican Party that can attract back the voters that we lost in 2020. And that means that we have to be in a position where we are being clear, we stand for the rule of law.
CHENEY: Bret, every time I say we stand for the rule of law, you say, ‘Yeah, yeah, you’ve said that.’
BAIER: No, no, no. But you have said the same exact thing numerous times.
CHENEY: But it’s really important.
BAIER: And I understand it’s important.
CHENEY: So have you, Bret, but it’s very important.
BAIER: Now, I’m asking just numerous questions. You said recently that you would be open to challenging former President Trump in 2024 if that’s what it took to keep him from winning again. Tomorrow morning, you’re talking to New Hampshire Today. So, are you running for president?
CHENEY: I am not, Bret. What I think is really important is that we make sure that the former president, because we know what he’s capable of, because we know what he continues to do, and because we know how important it is for us to be able to advance Republican ideals, that we make sure that he never again, get[s] anywhere near the Oval Office. I think that’s crucial. And I think it’s crucial that we begin to build the kind of coalition we need so that we can defeat Joe Biden, so that we can defeat Nancy Pelosi, so we can defeat Chuck Schumer, so that Republicans can actually take control again. But that requires getting back voters that we lost in 2020. And, frankly, that we lost in 2018 with Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
BAIER: So you mentioned Schumer and Pelosi — take a listen to this.
CHUCK SCHUMER, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Liz Cheney spoke truth to power, and now they’re firing her.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): What would a patriot do? A patriot would do what Liz Cheney has done. And she’s paid a heavy price for it.
NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: For her courage, for her patriotism. And I wish her well, perhaps this challenge will make her stronger.
BAIER: Are you comfortable with all of these Democrats singing your praises? Day after day?
CHENEY: Bret, look, what we’re talking about, these issues of the Constitution and the rule of law, should be above politics, it should be above partisanship, it should be above party. Every single one of us, everyone watching this show, everybody who works at Fox, everybody who’s elected to office, all of us have to love our country more. And that means that there are moments when you have to put politics aside, when you have to say, I will not be part of unraveling the democracy, that is a fundamentally important thing, the most fundamentally important thing we do, obeying the rule of law, standing up for the Constitution. And I think that we would all be better off as a country, frankly, if more of us said, ‘We’re gonna stand by the Constitution, we’re going to defend the rule of law, let’s have a vigorous debate about substance and policy.’ Those are really important issues. And I disagree about just about everything with all of those people that you just showed, but those substantive policy debates need to be conducted in a way that is worthy of the people that have fought for our freedom, worthy of the people who have died for our freedom, and that reflects who we are as a nation. We need to be proud of our ideals. And we need to know we have the better ideas, and that’s how we beat the Democrats.
BAIER: Some Republicans share your concerns about former President Trump and his false claims about the election. They believe, though, it’s a mistake, to challenge him directly. They think it’s much better, privately they’ll tell you, to have him fade away somehow. Are they wrong?
CHENEY: They are. I think that the danger that the former president poses is too great for us to simply hope for the best. And I also think that it’s really incumbent upon those of us who are in positions to be able to talk to the American people, talk to the people of our states, talk to the people of our districts, to tell the truth. You know, when when you talk about the extent to which the big lie has taken hold, part of that is because people have just sort of said, well, we’re going to ignore it and we’re going to move on. But too many people are embracing the former president and enabling that lie. And that lie is toxic to our democracy.
BAIER: Last year, many in the media and in Washington, including you, amplified anonymous sources, stories, claiming that President Trump ignored intelligence that Russians were paying bounties to kill Americans in Afghanistan. We’ve since learned that that intelligence was pretty shoddy, poorly sourced. Do you regret taking part in spreading that story?
CHENEY: No. I think actually, if you look at the details of the story, Bret, you’ll see that the intelligence community has made a recommendation about that intelligence. They’ve talked about having low confidence. I think if you go back and look at what I said, every single thing I said, I said, if those stories are true, we need to know why the president and the vice president were not briefed on them, and made very clear that we were concerned. I remain concerned about the role of the Russian government in Afghanistan, the role of the Russians in terms of working against our interests around the world.
BAIER: Right, but you pointed to President Trump, and my point is that you were GOP Conference Chair, and I’m just articulating what some of your colleagues have said, that they thought that that was a moment where they thought that your focus on the former president was more important to you then articulating GOP agenda and what they wish to do.
CHENEY: Well, I think you really ought to go check your facts, Bret, because he was the sitting president at that time, not the former president. And I think if you look at what I said, I said — and you can pull up that tweet, too — I said, if these reports are true, then the White House must explain why they did not brief the president or vice president. So, you know, I remain concerned about the intelligence. I think you will see if you go back and look at the facts about what the intelligence community has said, they have not said those reports are not true. They have said that they’ve got low confidence. And I think it’s an important thing to be concerned about.
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