The split between House Republican Conference chair Rep. Liz Cheney and her largely pro-Trump Republican colleagues played out before her vote to impeach the former president – as it was revealed Friday she helped put together an extraordinary op-ed from top military members.
Now, the Wyoming Republican could be within days of losing her elected leadership post amid a clash with Trump that came to a head with his claim that the 2020 election was a ‘BIG LIE.’
The letter stated that the time for questioning election results ‘has passed’ and said involving the military in electoral disputes would take the nation into ‘unlawful and unconstitutional territory.’
Republican Liz Cheney secretly helped put together an op-ed by 10 former Defense Secretaries January 3rd declaring that the time for disputing election results ‘has passed.’ She faces a challenge to her leadership post next week
It was a key break as members of the military, lawmakers, and retired statesman issued public statements in an effort to promote a transition in power despite Trump’s refusal to concede the election.
‘She was the one who generated it, because she was so worried about what Trump might do,’ Cheney advisor Eric Edelman told the New Yorker. ‘It speaks to the degree that she was concerned about the threat to our democracy that Trump represented.’
‘It’s all got to do with fealty to Trump and the Big Lie and the fact that Liz is a living reproach to all these cowards,’ added Edelman, a career diplomat who served as national security advisor to Vice President Cheney.
According to the magazine, Cheney was secretly behind the effort. She not only recruited her father, former Vice President and Pentagon boss Dick Cheney, but Trump’s former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis – a man Trump once heralded as the pinnacle of military bearing.
Mattis had taken efforts to avoid public comment on Trump after quitting his post in 2018 and saying his views were not ‘aligned’ with Trump’s, before ultimately denouncing him.
Cheney’s letter came during a tense time, when some Trump critics were eyeing his efforts to install loyalists in key political posts at the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security amid his claims of election fraud, even as Joe Biden beat him by 7 million votes and states certified election results.
A string of courts had already shot down ‘kraken’ lawsuits by Trump supporters.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) waits for the arrival of President Joe Biden, before he addresses a joint session of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 28 April 2021
‘Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted,’ the chiefs wrote. ‘Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the Electoral College has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed.’
‘Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory,’ they warned.
All 10 living former Defense Secretaries delivered an extraordinary warning to former President Trump in an op-ed in which they denounced the possibility of military involvement in the current election dispute. They include James Mattis (left) and Mark Esper (right), both of whom worked under Trump. Liz Cheney helped organize the effort, it was reported Friday
The 10 living former Defense Secretaries listed as authors of the piece were Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld.
The rift with Trump and his loyalists in the House GOP is so pronounced that Cheney is likely to lose her post during a vote next Wednesday, although some conservatives have raised doubts about Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who has Trump’s backing.
Trump has repeatedly attacked Cheney as a ‘warmonger,’ and has gone after her since she was one of 10 House Republicans to back his impeachment, while hosing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy loyalists like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio at Mar-a-Lago.
Cheney this week penned her own slashing op-ed, also published in the Post, where she lays out a stark choice for her party between Donald Trump’s crusade to ‘delegitimize’ Joe Biden’s election and her own and fidelity to the U.S. Constitution.
‘The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,’ she wrote in the Post Wednesday.
‘In the immediate wake of the violence of Jan. 6, almost all of us knew the gravity and the cause of what had just happened — we had witnessed it firsthand,’ she said bringing up the Capitol riot that preceded her vote to impeach Trump.
Elected leaders from both parties are set to come to the White House to meet with Biden the same day of the vote.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki did not provide a definite answer when asked by DailyMail.com Friday if there was a set time for the meeting. If it happens late in the day, Cheney may no longer be an elected Republican leader.
The article by the defense chiefs came at a time when there was public speculation about whether Trump would in fact leave office on January 20th, the date established in the Constitution for the formal transfer of power.
Trump failed to concede the election, and was publicly pressuring Mike Pence to find a way to send votes certified by states back to the states when Congress met to count the votes from the Electoral College.
Mattis had rebuked Trump over the summer after National Guard forces cleared Lafayette Square for a photo-op where Trump walked across the park and held up a bible amid protests.
‘We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution,’ Mattis said, announcing his full break with the president.
The administration had made use of federal assets to help gain control of street summer protests following the death of George Floyd.
On January 12th, six days after the riot, military chiefs issued another extraordinary letter.
‘The violent riot in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process,’ they wrote.
‘As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation. We support and defend the Constitution,” wrote all eight members of the joint chiefs of staff, including chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who had earlier apologized for participating the photo-op.
‘Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law,’ they wrote.