Liz Cheney, the third-highest-ranking Republican leader in the House, was censured by the Wyoming Republican party on Saturday for voting to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the 6 January riot at the US Capitol.
The overwhelming censure vote was the latest blowback for Cheney for joining nine Republican representatives and all Democrats in the US House in the 13 January impeachment vote.
On Saturday only eight of the 74-member state GOP’s central committee stood to oppose censure in a vote that did not proceed to a formal count. The censure document accused Cheney of voting to impeach even though the US House didn’t offer Trump “formal hearing or due process”.
“We need to honor President Trump. All President Trump did was call for a peaceful assembly and protest for a fair and audited election,” said Darin Smith, a Cheyenne attorney who lost to Cheney in the Republican US House primary in 2016. “The Republican party needs to put her on notice.”
Cheney in a statement after the vote said she remained honored to represent Wyoming and would always fight for issues that matter most to the state. “Foremost among these is the defense of our constitution and the freedoms it guarantees. My vote to impeach was compelled by the oath I swore to the constitution,” Cheney said.
Republican officials said they invited Cheney but she did not attend. An empty chair labeled “Representative Cheney” sat at the front of the meeting room.
Cheney will remain as the third-ranking member of the House GOP leadership, however, after a 145-61 vote by House Republicans on Wednesday to keep her as conference committee chair.
In Wyoming just three months after winning a third term with almost 70%, Cheney already faces at least two Republican primary opponents in 2022. They include the Republican state senator Anthony Bouchard, a gun-rights activist from Cheyenne, who was at the meeting but not among those who spoke. Smith also has said he is deliberating whether to run for Congress again.
On 28 January the Republican US Representative Matt Gaetz, of Florida, led a rally against Cheney in front of the Wyoming Capitol. About 1,000 people took part, many of them carrying signs calling for Cheney’s impeachment though several were supportive.
Trump faces trial in the US Senate on Tuesday over allegedly inciting insurrection when a mob of supporters stormed into and rampaged through the Capitol after a nearby rally led by Trump and close allies.
Censure opponents mainly came from Casper, Wyoming’s second-largest city, and the Jackson Hole area near Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
“Let’s resist this infusion of leftwing cancel culture to try to censure and get rid of anybody we disagree with,” said Alexander Muromcew with the Teton county GOP.
Momentum for censure had been growing for weeks as local Republicans in around a dozen of Wyoming’s 23 counties passed their own resolutions criticizing Cheney’s impeachment vote.