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Liz Cheney: GOP must not 'trivialize' gravity of Capitol riot

Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyRepublicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Freedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' Kinzinger: Republicans who join 'America First' caucus should be stripped of committees MORE (R-Wyo.) said she believes it’s critical that the GOP not “trivialize” or “minimize” the gravity of the Capitol insurrection to prevent similar instances of violence in the future during an interview Tuesday with the Reagan Institute. 

Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said the insurrection was a reminder of the fragility of the system and the need for elected officials to be responsible with their rhetoric.

She also slammed former President TrumpDonald TrumpDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Taylor Greene defends 'America First' effort, pushes back on critics MORE for repeatedly claiming the election was stolen. 

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“[It’s] incumbent upon everybody who takes an oath of office and swears to protect and defend the Constitution that we recognize what happened on Jan. 6, that we commit ourselves that it must never happen again, that we recognize the damage that was done by the president, President Trump, saying that somehow the election was stolen, making those claims for months and summoning the mob and provoking them then in the attack on the Capitol,” she said. “And also, and very importantly, in refusing, despite multiple requests from people to ask him to stop what was happening to ask him to stop the violence to protect the Capitol to protect the counting of electoral votes — he didn't do so.” 

Cheney, the House Republican Conference chairwoman, was one of 10 Republicans and the only member of leadership to vote to impeach Trump. 

Her actions led to criticism from the far-right flank of her party, who sought to remove her from leadership. 

The speech to a group named after President Reagan, the GOP president that Cheney and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, have both lionized, sent an implicit signal itself about the kind of party she wants the GOP to be going forward.

The Wyoming Republican said she feels lawmakers need to be vocal in their rebuke of Trump’s actions on the world stage to prove the United States is committed to protecting freedom. 

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“It's an existential threat to who we are and it can't be minimized or trivialized,” she said of Trump's behavior.

Cheney went on to say she supports the establishment of a bipartisan commission similar to the one created following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to investigate the breach of the Capitol. 

“I think there are many aspects to what happened on the 6th and in the days, weeks and months leading up to it that have to be investigated. And I think having a commission with the formality that we saw in the 9/11 commission, with the bipartisan participation that we saw in the 9/11 commission, that's very important,” she said.

She added that it should have subpoena power and be made of up retired officials. 

Cheney said Republicans need to make it clear that their party does not stand for bigotry or white supremacy following the riot at the Capitol, where symbolism was prevalent among the insurrectionists. 

“And it's very important, especially for us as Republicans, to make clear that we aren't the party of white supremacy, you certainly saw anti-Semitism, you saw the symbols of Holocaust denial, for example, at the Capitol that day, you saw the Confederate flag being carried through the rotunda," she said. "And I think we, as Republicans, in particular, have a duty and an obligation to stand against that, to stand against the insurrection.”

She also urged her party to “ignore the temptation to look away.”