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Juan Williams: Will GOP women stand with Cheney?

Karma?  

A new political action committee, or PAC, aimed at preventing former President Trump from ever coming close to the Oval Office again is being led by a woman. 

And Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is likely to be arm-in-arm with several other Republican women in taking a defiant stand against Trump. 

Bobbie Kilberg, a major GOP fundraiser who helped Cheney raise money in the past, told the Wall Street Journal last week the congresswoman “will have plenty of money” to fund her fight against Trump inside the GOP. 

Cheney might get support from Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos, two prominent Republican women.  

They both resigned from Trump’s cabinet to protest his role in inciting the mob attack of Jan. 6, 2021, on the Capitol. 

And don’t forget these three women, conservative and TV-friendly, ready to follow Cheney’s lead: 

Carly Fiorina, the businesswoman and former presidential candidate; Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey; and Barbara Comstock, the former Virginia congresswoman. All are willing to pay the political price for calling out Republicans who have fallen under Trump’s spell. 

Then there is Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) who, like Cheney, voted to impeach the then-president and went on to lose her GOP primary to a Trump-backed challenger. She has no regrets about being punished in the primary for defying Trump. 

“I always told the truth, stuck to my principles, and did what I knew to be best for our country,” she said after her defeat. 

Another woman in the fight looks to be a political winner despite defying Trump: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). 

Her reelection bid survived the primaries even though she is in a red state and is one of the seven Senate Republicans to vote to convict Trump after his second impeachment. 

Then there are the younger women. 

One former Trump White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, caused a sensation in late June with her damning evidence to the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6. Former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews testified the following month, while former director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah Griffin has become a high-profile Trump critic through her frequent media appearances. 

Six years ago, Trump trafficked in sexist rhetoric to defeat a woman, Hillary Clinton. He was infamously recorded on the “Access Hollywood” tape boasting about how stardom means “you can do anything…grab [women] by the p–ssy.” He said tough debate questioning from journalist Megyn Kelly was because she had “blood coming out of her wherever.” He denigrated his former aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, a Black woman, as a “dog.”  

Oh, and let’s not forget, he nominated three Supreme Court justices who voted to end abortion rights for American women. 

Now for the payback. 

Cheney, vice-chair of the Jan 6. Committee, will have a national spotlight to lead her brigade of women warriors for the rest of this Congress. 

And she will have her new PAC, apparently to be called “The Great Task.” The name is an allusion to President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  

Lincoln famously called on Americans to honor those who died in the Civil War by being “dedicated to the great task remaining before us” — ensuring the U.S. remains a democracy. 

Cheney sees herself protecting democracy in the 21st century. She has contempt for the men cowering before Trump. 

In a new book, she is quoted delivering scathing criticism of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 

“Where Kevin is like full-on public embrace [of Trump], McConnell is: Ignore and hope he goes away. And that just doesn’t work,” she told Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin for their book “This Will Not Pass.” 

Cheney raised more than $13 million for her failed primary bid against a Trump-backed candidate. At the end of July, she still had around $7 million left, which could yet be used in her broader fight against Trump. 

Speaking to her supporters on election night, Cheney made her future plain: “We must be very clear-eyed about the threat we face and about what is required to defeat it. I have said since January 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office.”  

“I’m a conservative Republican… I love what our party has stood for,” she said. “But I love my country more.” 

An Economist/YouGov poll last week found women favoring Democrats by 14 points in the coming midterm elections while men leaned toward the GOP by two points. Smart GOP strategists and conservative pundits have always understood the gender gap is their Achilles’ heel in elections.  

Ann Coulter has always been fond of pointing out that “in every presidential election since 1950 — except [Barry] Goldwater in ’64 — the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted.” 

Republicans are trying to counter the gender gap by fielding pro-Trump MAGA firebrands who parrot the Big Lie of 2020 election fraud — like Harriet Hageman, the attorney who defeated Cheney in the GOP primary last week. There are more like her, including Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and Michigan gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon. 

History will remember them as selling out for short-term political gain. 

If the Party of Lincoln can be saved from becoming a “cult,” to quote Cheney, it will be due to courageous women willing to shoulder the burden of history.  

Now is the time for all good Republican women to come to the aid of the party and their country.  

Now is their time to stand with Liz.  

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel. 

Tags Bobbie Kilberg Conservatism election denialism Omarosa Manigault Newman Republican Party

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