Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., served as the third-ranked Republican in the House until her expulsion from leadership last year.
But Cheney is still shooting high. She confirmed Wednesday that she was seriously “thinking about” running for president in 2024.
Cheney, a three-term incumbent, lost Tuesday’s Republican primary by more than 37 points. In a cryptic speech, she said, “This primary election is over but now the real work begins.”
The next morning, Cheney went on NBC News’ Today to discuss her future plans.
“Let’s just be straight about it,” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked. “Are you considering running for president yourself?”
“Well, what I’m going to do, Savannah, is spend the next several months completing my work in Congress, obviously, completing my work representing the people of Wyoming,” Cheney responded. “We have a tremendous amount of work to do left on the Jan. 6 Committee, and also, though, I’m going to make sure that people all around this country understand the stakes of what we’re facing, understand the extent to which we’ve now got one major political party, my party which has really become a cult of personality, and we’ve got to get this party back to a place where we’re embracing the values and the principles on which it was founded, and talking about the fundamental issues of civics, fundamental issues of what it means to be a constitutional republic, and I will also be doing [chatter] whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.”
Guthrie pushed harder for an answer.
“You didn’t say yes or no, and that’s fine if you’re thinking about it,” Guthrie said. “But are you thinking about it? Are you thinking about running for president?”
Cheney said, “That’s a decision that I’m going to make in the coming months, Savannah. I’m not going to make any announcements here this morning, but it is something that I’m thinking about. And I’ll make a decision in the coming months.”
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As of Wednesday, Cheney’s office has already announced a new organization called The Great Task, a super PAC indented to “educate the American people about the ongoing threat to our Republic, and to mobilize a unified effort to oppose any Donald Trump campaign for president.”
In her concession speech, Cheney compared her loss to that of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.
“A few years ago, I won this primary with 73 percent of the vote. I could easily have done the same again. The path was clear,” Cheney claimed in Tuesday’s speech. “Harriet Hageman has received the most votes in this primary. She won. I called her to concede the race.”
Cheney went on:
The great and original champion of our party, Abraham Lincoln, was defeated in elections for the Senate and the House before he won the most important election of all. Lincoln ultimately prevailed, he saved our Union and he defined our obligation as Americans for all of history…
In May of 1864, after years of war and a string of reluctant Union generals, Ulysses S. Grant met General Lee’s forces at the Battle of the Wilderness. In two days of heavy fighting, the Union suffered over 17,000 casualties. At the end of that battle, General Grant faced a choice. Most assumed he would do what previous Union generals had done and retreat. On the evening of May 7, Grant began to move. As the fires of the battle still smoldered, Grant rode to the head of the column. He rode to the intersection of Brock Road and Orange Plank Road. And there, as the men of his army watched and waited, instead of turning north back towards Washington and safety, Grant turns his horse south toward Richmond and the heart of Lee’s army. Refusing to retreat, he pressed on to victory. Lincoln and Grant and all who fought in our nation’s tragic Civil War, including my own great-great-grandfathers, saved our Union.
After the Lincoln remark, Cheney faced criticism for delusions of grandeur.
“I cannot imagine a more hideous disconnect from reality than this,” one Twitter user wrote.
Others compared her potential run to that of Ross Perot, who siphoned votes from former Republican President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 presidential election and ensured Bill Clinton’s victory —
We'd honestly be better off if she pulled a Ross Perot and pulled votes from whoever the Republican presidential candidate is in 2024. Hopefully she'll continue this patriotism and prevent trump or desantis (or whoever the next cult leader is) from winning
— Reikoshea (@reikoshea) August 17, 2022
The Horn editorial team