10 House Republicans went against the party line, earlier this month. The most prominent of those: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, faces backlash for that vote, including the possibility of censure from the Wyoming Republican Party and being stripped of her job as House Republican Conference Chair.
There is also a new push to get Congresswoman Cheney out of office.
For decades the Cheney name has been Republican gold in Wyoming.
Now, though, Cowboy State Republicans are rising up against a Cheney — Liz Cheney, their at-large U.S. Representative, third-highest ranking Republican in Congress and one of 10 House Republicans to vote for the latest Article of Impeachment against former President Trump.
“I mean, I think it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Republican State Sen. Anthony Bouchard of Wyoming’s 6th district.
Sen. Bouchard announced a primary challenge to Cheney just days after her vote for impeachment.
“Wyoming is the state that, you know, had more people pull the lever for Donald Trump, both times. I think the voters want to send a strong statement to D.C.,” he said.
This isn’t just local politics. The movement to primary Cheney brought a Trump loyalist, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida to the Wyoming State Capitol.
Most of those gathered in Cheyenne are still hanging on to the defeated president as their standard-bearer and that’s fine with Gaetz.
“I think this is Donald Trump’s party, and I’m a Donald Trump Republican. I want to see the vision and the policies of our past president continue to inform on our values and our actions. Liz Cheney represents a reversion to yesterday’s Republican party,” Rep. Gaetz said.
Republican State Rep. Landon Brown of Wyoming’s 9th district is a Cheney-supporting Republican who isn’t worried about the challenge.
“Truth be told, you know, the records show that Representative Cheney voted more in line with President Trump than Matt Gaetz has in his two years,” Rep. Brown said. “Yes, Representative Cheney cast a vote that was contrary to a very large portion of Wyoming’s populous. But I will also say, you know, in my support of Representative Cheney, I received a ton of support, and I know she is receiving a ton of support as well.”
Even Democrats said they don’t take delight over the divide in the opposition.
“You are seeing now a resistance movement within the Republican Party, creating a full out civil war. And that’s what’s happening in Wyoming right now is you’re seeing Liz Cheney and a few others try to hold on to something that looks like the pre-Trump Republican Party,” said Democrat U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York’s 18th Congressional district.
Congressman Maloney chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“I think Democrats need to provide a positive path forward for our country. And we can do that, with reasonable loyal opponents in the Republican Party, the way we have for generations,” he said. “We may have strong disagreements about policy. But we fundamentally love our country, and we are both grounded in reality. But I’m quite alarmed by what I’m seeing in the Republican Party. This is a new breed of cat.”
Republicans are alarmed as well. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a Wednesday call with members of his caucus told them to “cut that crap out” in reference to intraparty attacks going on.
Michael Shure: What’s your reaction to Leader McCarthy?
Rep. Gaetz: I think the people who assembled here to share their patriotism wouldn’t deem this crap at all, they would deem this as an exercise of their First Amendment.
Congressman Gaetz came to a state that is talking like he is about bucking the establishment.
“We see an establishment that always moves and that it’s like they, they all scurry in the same direction. And I think that people are saying that now. They’re tired of it,” said Bouchard.
Rep. Brown isn’t worried.
“There’s absolutely no concerns in my opinion and absolutely no concerns on those that know Representative Cheney that she is and always will be a champion for the State of Wyoming,” he said.