Austin, TX – Last night, Congresswoman Liz Cheney was interviewed by Evan Smith for the closing keynote event of the Texas Tribune Festival that was held over the past three days. Video of the full interview can be seen here and please watch some of the individual highlights of the Congresswoman’s comments below:
BRANDON FORMBY: This question comes from a conservative audience member, they believe that Biden won. Would you advise them to boycott the midterm if the Republican candidates claimed that the election was stolen?
CONGRESSWOMAN LIZ CHENEY: No, I would advise them to vote against the election deniers.
EVAN SMITH: It’s better to stay in the fight than to withdraw then?
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: Yes. And I think it, look, I mean, I really believe that – And I say this as somebody who has worked in countries around the world that aren’t democracies. In, you know, the Middle East and in Asia, in Africa. I worked in Eastern Europe right after the Wall came down. So, I’ve seen societies where people are either struggling to gain their freedom, or where they aren’t living in freedom. And it is really, really fragile. And we have become accustomed to thinking, you know, “Well, the United States, we can just take for granted that we are going to be a constitutional Republic.” And what we’ve seen over the course of the last couple of years, is how that foundation is being chipped away at. And the most important obligation, not just elected officials have, but every single American is to do your part to make sure that people who believe in what the election deniers are saying, the people who would tear the Republic down, don’t get power.
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: I think it’s really important not to just immediately jump to the horse race. And I think about what we need as a country. And, you know, we have to step back from the abyss. And we have to recognize that, that there’s this shift going on in our politics, that the tectonic plates are shifting. And that means that we all have a responsibility to say to ourselves, what are we going to do to make sure that our kids, you know, know what it means to have peaceful transfers of power? And what are we going to do to make sure that we don’t contribute to the unraveling of the Republic? And I think that’s a much bigger question. And that’s, that’s what I’m focused on, rather than who’s running and –
SMITH: Right, but what’s the mech – but of course, Representative, if you’re a former state representative is one thing. You don’t have the stage that you have had, or that you would have, if you chose to seek office at the highest level. So, what’s the mechanism for carrying that message?
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: Well, I don’t think you should doubt my capability to do that.
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: But I think that, you know, the Independent voter and the moderate Democrats and the moderate Republicans around this country want sanity. And they want responsibility. And they want to know that their elected officials are serious. And so, you know, I would urge people when they are going to go into the voting booth and cast their vote – policy and substance matters, no question that it matters. But you ought to think very carefully about making sure the people you vote for are serious. And I mean that on both sides of the aisle. We need competent, serious people making these decisions.
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: But I think it’s a – this is a much bigger issue for us as a country than just the ‘22 cycle and the ‘24 cycle.
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: And it’s about whether we’re going to demand of our elected officials that they fulfill their oaths of office, and whether we’re going to recognize that partisanship has to have a limit, you know, there’s got to be an end. And if we go down the path, and I would give you an example. I think, for example, that Governor Youngkin in Virginia is doing a good job. I think that he’s demonstrated that he’s somebody who has not bought into the toxin of Donald Trump. But he campaigned recently for Kari Lake. He went and campaigned –
SMITH: Republican candidate in Arizona for Governor.
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: Right. Who’s an election denier, who is dangerous. And that’s the kind of thing we cannot see in our party. We cannot see an accommodation like that. And I think it’s very important that we be clear about that.
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: I think making sure people around the country understand this point. On January 6th, while the attack was happening, while police officers at the Capitol were being beaten, while they were engaged in medieval hand-to-hand combat, while the violent mob was attempting to stop the functioning of our democracy and assaulting our Capitol, while his family was pleading with him to “Please tell the mob to go home,” while his most senior officials were pleading with him, “Please tell the mob to go home,” while leaders in Congress were begging him, “Please tell the mob to go home,” Donald Trump wouldn’t. And just set the politics aside for a minute and think to yourselves, “What kind of human being does that?” What kind of human being sits for 187 minutes when he’s the only one who can stop it, and he knows what’s happening, and he refuses to take action. And I think that part of our obligation as a Committee is to make sure people understand and know what he did and what he didn’t do.
CONGRESSWOMAN CHENEY: I think that what’s really important to recognize is that we don’t even get to have those debates about issues if we let the Republic unravel. And we have to be able, at a moment, to say, look, you know, the reason we are able to, you know, have a debate about tax policy or have a debate about military spending is precisely because we live in a nation where we’re governed by laws. And we get to debate and then we get to decide what kind of policy we are going to pursue.