Dick Cheney diminishes himself to attack Trump
If his daughter Liz Cheney were not in the middle of a rhetorical steel-cage death match against Donald Trump, would the Dick Cheney of old — say, the one who watched in dismay as the alleged politicization of charges and sentencing played out against his former chief of staff Irve Lewis “Scooter” Libby, whom Trump pardoned in 2018 — have joined with former Vice President Mike Pence, a growing list of Republicans, some Democrats and constitutional law experts in condemning or questioning the FBI search on Trump’s Florida home?
Maybe, but now we will never know. Dick Cheney has gone all in against Trump.
As a clearly loving and protective father of both of his daughters, Dick Cheney has every right to ride to their rescue in time of need. That said, his over-the-top defense of Liz Cheney, a Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, should be questioned.
Liz Cheney is the clear underdog in Tuesday’s primary against Harriet Hageman. Hageman has the full — and still powerful — backing of Trump. That’s because Liz Cheney voted to impeach the former president over the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol and sits on the House select committee investigating the events of that day.
To say there is no love lost between her and Trump would be an understatement. But aside from Trump’s personal animosity against her, there are a number of Republican voters in Wyoming — and a great many more around the nation — who have lost faith in Liz. Cheney and believe she has become a card-carrying member of the greater D.C. swamp.
Now that she is trailing her Republican opponent by more than 20 points, Liz Cheney has reached out to her father for help in what may be a lost cause. Again, Dick Cheney should try to speak out on behalf of his daughter — what parent would not? Yet, instead of talking about the positives of her service in the U.S. House, the former vice president and former Defense secretary chose to travel down the same low road that many other Trump critics have taken.
In a political ad in support of his daughter’s reelection campaign, Dick Cheney said, “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. 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.”
Really? There is hyperbole, and then there is just desperate nonsense.
Dick Cheney is fully within his rights to despise Trump. But as he fires off his superheated rhetoric to defend Liz Cheney, he may want to reexamine the line “In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic” and review the actions of, say, Benedict Arnold, John Walker Jr., Robert Hanssen, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Aldrich Ames, or even, more recently, George Soros and the woke prosecutors he funds.
Next, let’s examine his line that Trump “lost his election, and he lost it big.” Surely the former vice president knows better than that. First, it is not factually accurate. And second, he himself was in a highly contested recount as the running mate in 2000 with George W. Bush.
As Dick Cheney knows, Trump lost Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada by a total of about 60,000 votes — states with a combined electoral vote count of 43. Obviously, had Trump won those states, he would have been reelected president. And nearly three years after Joe Biden’s election, many still contend there were voting irregularities in a number of contested states.
When he was Bush’s running mate, Dick Cheney demanded that every vote in Florida be lawful and accurate. It’s the same standard that Trump invoked in 2020, when he actually grew his national vote total by almost 12 million over his 2016 numbers.
Finally, we have him labeling Trump “a coward” who is not “a real man.” Some may recall that Dick Cheney was often called “a coward” by many on the left — and some on the right — for his artful dodging of military service during the Vietnam War, so one would think he might want to avoid that particular insult.
But no. As we have seen with some of Trump’s Republican primary opponents, as well as a legion of Democratic politicians, members of the media and Hollywood celebrities, Trump’s very existence seems to bring out the absolute worst in folks.
Ever since Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2015, a number of seemingly intelligent and accomplished Americans have become unhinged in ways that ultimately have reflected poorly upon them.
Dick Cheney is right to defend his daughter but, in doing so, he added his name to the long list of people who choose to attack Trump with sophomoric, playground insults rather than to take the high road and argue merits.
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.