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'Some things are above politics': Rep. Cheney on Jan. 6 Committee, future of Republican party

Liz Cheney SU.png
Syracuse University
Congresswoman Liz Cheney spoke to Syracuse University students, faculty and staff October 3.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney spoke to Syracuse University students, faculty and staff Monday afternoon for a conversation titled “Courage in Defense of Democracy.” During her talk, she spoke on the importance of a peaceful transition of power and the future of the Republican party.

Cheney is vice-chair of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. She also was one of 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach Former President Donald Trump.

As she spoke, she stressed the “sacred nature” of a peaceful transition of power.

“This republic only survives if individuals step forward to defend her,” Cheney said. “Every single one of us has a duty to make sure that this is not the last generation that knows a peaceful transfer of power in this great nation. I am absolutely committed to doing everything I can to make sure that is the case.”

Cheney said it’s inexplicable why so many in her party defend the actions taken by Former President Trump during January 6 – saying there is a real cost to the republic of defending behavior that is constitutionally indefensible.

“We cannot be a country where elections are determined by violence,” the Wyoming congresswoman said.

She said she believes the country has come to accept a dangerous level of venom in its politics and hopes the methodology of the Select Committee could be a model for the future.

“Some things are above politics,” Cheney said. “We can disagree deeply about policy issues, but we never get to have the debate about tax policy or defense strategy or any of those other issues if you let the constitutional framework unravel. We have to come together as Americans regardless of party to defend fundamentally the framework and the structure that guarantees our freedom."

Having lost her primary election, Cheney will leave office at the end of this term. But, she said she has hope and optimism that the country will find people who will lead with integrity and character.

“There are certainly people on both sides of the aisle today who represent that,” Cheney said. “I think it has to be said that the current leadership of the Republican party in Congress are not leading that way. Our history is characterized by moments where people put the country first.”

The congresswoman said she believes the vast majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle believe in the honored institutions of democracy.

“We will get through this period and we will elect people who are going to defend those,” Cheney said.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.