Bentonville, AR– This evening, Liz Cheney spoke at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as part of their “We The People: The Radical Notion Of Democracy” that features, among other artifacts, an original print of the U.S. Constitution. During the conversation, which was moderated by Caryl M. Stern, Cheney spoke about the January 6th Select Committee’s meeting held earlier today where the Committee adopted its final report.
Watch her full conversation here and see excerpted answers along with corresponding transcripts below:
CARYL STERN: So, you know, we’ve all been watching the news today, and I thought about just – thought I’d start by just saying, “How was your day today, honey?” But – We all know that today was the final public hearing of the January 6th Select Committee. So, I’m sure that this audience is anxious to hear. They want to hear what people should take away from today’s meeting, what the Committee’s report is saying, what the Committee as a whole meant, the floor is yours.
CONGRESSWOMAN LIZ CHENEY: Well, thank you so much. And it’s wonderful to be here. It’s my first time at Crystal Bridges, and I really can’t think of anything more fitting at the end of, you know, what was a sad day in many ways, but a day that was dedicated to the Constitution, then to be able to be here, and to actually see an original copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, very, very special. So, wonderful to be here, wonderful to be here with the Walton family, and with the Boozmans, and thank you for all you do. So, it’s wonderful to see because I think it can be easy sometimes to think the Constitution isn’t relevant for us in our daily lives. And certainly what we’ve seen over the course of the last year and a half, is the extent to which we all have an obligation, not only to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to defend the Constitution and defend our institutions, but we have an obligation to educate ourselves, we have an obligation to make sure that as Americans we understand how our institutions work, we understand the protections that the Constitution gives us. And if we don’t take the responsibility to educate ourselves, then we won’t be able to defend the institutions. And, you know, what you saw today was the culmination of 18 months of work by the Select Committee. Our Committee is one that I’m very proud of. We operated in almost, I would say a nonpartisan manner, not just a bipartisan manner, but really focused. You know, the members of our Committee have vastly different positions on a whole range of issues, but we agree on the most important issue, which is the defense of the Constitution. And we said from the beginning that we would follow the facts, we would go where the facts lead us. And, again, it was with solemnity and sadness that, you know, the facts lead to criminal referrals for the former President of the United States. But I’m proud of the work that our Committee has done. And I think that – people ask me, “How do we make sure January 6 never happens again?” And I think that there are a number of things we need to do, but probably among the very most important, and maybe the most important, is we have to hold those who were responsible for January 6th accountable. There has to be accountability.
STERN: So, before I wrap us up, is there any other comment you want to make on the process, or today, or tomorrow?
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: Well, I have a lot to say.
STERN: I’ll sit back.
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: You know, I think that what we have seen and what we’ve lived through, and what we need to continue to stand against, is a turning away from a violation of, a rejection of our fundamental constitutional protections. And, you know, I think one way that it’s really important for us to think about it is, if we only defend the Constitution when it serves our political purposes, then we won’t ever be able to call on it as a shield when we need it. It is a shield for us. If you want to be able to live in a Republic where the Constitution, where you can count on it as a shield, as a protection of our First Amendment rights, of our Second Amendment rights of, you know, all of the rights in the Constitution, then you have to be willing to stand up for it even when it’s not politically, especially when it’s not politically beneficial. And, and I really, I think that when you look at what we’ve been through, you look at how quickly a very complicated and sophisticated, in many ways, plot was formed to use many different efforts to try to overturn an election. We all have to be vigilant, you know, we all, I think, on some level get complacent, and you think, “Well, that can’t happen in the United States.” But it can. It did. Our Capitol was attacked, was attacked by citizens, and it was attacked by people, frankly, who Donald Trump preyed on their patriotism. In so many ways he preyed on people’s patriotism and he turned it into a weapon. And he told people, “If you love your country, you’ve got to fight and you have to take back the country.” And it was a lie, and it continues to be a lie. And we all, every one of us, have to reject that and say, “We do not accept that, we reject the lies, we’re going to hold people accountable, and we’re going to work together to make sure we defend the Constitution going forward.”