The shocking sight of Wyoming’s lone U. S. Representative voting to impeach President Donald Trump was devastating to thousands of Cowboy State residents.
Wyoming supported Trump to a larger extent than any other state, with more than 70% of its voters casting ballots for the incumbent president.
When Cheney voted against Trump, it truly made national headlines and was the lead story on the nightly news. As the third-ranking Republican in the U. S. House, her vote was seismic. It sent shock waves from one end of the country to the other. It was an earthquake back here in Wyoming.
The reaction to her announcement was swift and critical. Cowboy State Daily put its version of the Cheney announcement on Facebook, and it had 889 mostly negative comments, 67 shares, and 1,111 likes.
This is an amazing reaction when you assume that every other news organization in the state was also putting the same story out on social media. It goes to show the amount of interest in her decision.
She said her vote was a matter of conscience but others had more cynical views.
A lot of observers have always seen Liz as having higher national ambitions. Like being the first Republican woman to run for president. Or to emulate her father Dick Cheney, who served eight years as vice-president to President George W. Bush. It was easy to be proud of her for her ranking as third-most powerful Republican in the House and she seemed perfectly set up to seek even higher national office.
Interestingly, while her stock fell sharply here in Wyoming, her stock may have risen across the country. Not every state has been as loyal to Trump as Wyoming.
The media elite was almost unanimous in running the story as their lead, heaping high praise on her for her courage.
Back here in Wyoming, there was some support for her decision. Most was from Democrats and Independents but there were also some from more moderate members of the Republican party, like former Gov. Jim Geringer, former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson and former U.S. House candidate Rod Miller. A group of prominent lawyers and judges also supported it including former Democrat governors Dave Freudenthal and Mike Sullivan.
As I write this on Jan. 17, there are 25,000 names on a petition to recall her. This is futile, since Wyoming does not have a method to recall elected officials, but it shows the level of negative feeling out there about her decision.
Her biggest critics came directly from the state Republican Party.
The party condemned Cheney’s vote, stating that in recent memory, there has never been as much feedback from Wyoming Republicans as there has been against Trump’s impeachment and Cheney’s vote.
The statement attributed to Wyoming Republican Party leadership listed a number of comments the party has received since the vote, none of which were supportive of Cheney’s position.
“The consensus is clear that those who are reaching out to the Party vehemently disagree with Representative Cheney’s decision and actions,” reads the statement.
“Representative Cheney has aligned herself with leftists who are screaming that what happened (Jan. 6) is the ‘worst thing ever in our history’ (or similar such claims),” reads another.
In an interview with media, Cheney addressed what she saw as the historical significance of the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, stating that this is a “very dangerous moment for our nation” and noting the presence of U.S. troops in the Capitol.
Cheney emphasized the gravity of the situation many times during the 15-minute phone call, mentioning that the vote to impeach was done with a “heavy heart” but adding that for her, there was no other option.
“This is a moment when it’s important for all of us to recognize that our Republic is very fragile, and that we all have an obligation to ensure we’re doing everything that we’re compelled to do by our oath to ensure the survival of that Republic,” Cheney said.
“There are times when those of us as elected officials are called on to act in a way that does not take politics into consideration,” she said. “Dealing with something as serious and as grave as the attack on the Capitol is one of those times.” Cheney’s actions sure looked like she really was trying to put President Donald J. Trump in her rearview mirror. But to thousands of Cowboy State voters, it looked like she was also putting Wyoming in her rearview mirror.