The question Cheney must face is whether there is a desire within the Republican Party for a candidate specifically to serve as an adversary to its most popular and dominant figure.
“It’s something I’m thinking about and I’ll make a decision in the coming months,” Cheney said on NBC’s “Today” on Wednesday.
Her role on the select committee, however, comes with the kind of spotlight other Republican Trump critics have struggled to find. Cheney would face the same challenge when she leaves office in January, and a presidential candidacy could be the only way to tackle it.
The three-year congressman has admitted in recent days that she knew her strategy in the Wyoming primaries, where she maintained a relentless focus on Trump in interviews and television ads, despite the former president having won the state by 43 percentage points in 2020. not popular.
“That path would have required me to accept, to embrace, to continue the Big Lie,” she told NBC.
She also acknowledged that removing the GOP from Trump’s influence would be a longer-term project.
“Look, I think the Republican Party is in very bad shape today, and I think we have a tremendous amount of work to do. I think it takes several election cycles. But the country has to have a Republican Party.” which is actually based on content, based on principles,” Cheney said.
Cheney Channels Lincoln in PAC Launch
Cheney has already started building the political apparatus to support a fight with Trump.
It’s the first of several of Cheney’s next moves, an adviser told CNN, as she begins to live up to ideas expressed in her election night speech and opens a new chapter in the wake of her crushing defeat.
The name of the PAC evokes the words of Abraham Lincoln, who spoke in his Gettysburg address of the “great task” facing the nation.
Cheney quoted Lincoln at length in her comments Tuesday night at a ranch in Jackson Hole as the sun set over Grand Teton behind her. She even drew a parallel with his losses before he won the presidency in 1860.
“Abraham Lincoln was defeated in the Senate and House elections before winning the most important of them all,” she said.
Post-Jan. 6 committee challenges
Cheney will have to answer questions about how to stay relevant once her work as vice chair of the House selection committee ends and she leaves Congress in January 2023.
James Goldston, the veteran television producer who has advised the House panel in recent months, was in Wyoming for Cheney’s speech. He was not in Wyoming as part of his work as a special counsel to the House committee, CNN learned, but rather on assignment for his own production company for possible future projects involving Cheney.
Goldston, the former president of ABC News, watched the scene during Cheney’s campaign event at a cattle ranch outside of Jackson. He and a small film crew took in the scenic landscape, with the distant mountains and the prairies of Wyoming bathed in evening sunlight.
Cheney worked closely with Goldston’s team in presenting the committee’s findings in a TV-ready manner to a national audience. They teamed up to edit hours and hours of footage that brought the uprising to life as it unfolded.
“She invited him as a friend and it has nothing to do with committee work,” Jeremy Adler, a Cheney spokesperson, told CNN. Goldston declined to comment.
Outreach to Democrats, Independents
“Let’s resolve that we will stand together — Republicans, Democrats and independents — against those who want to destroy our republic,” Cheney said in her Tuesday night speech.
But a presidential race is very different from a House primary.
In Teton County, the liberal part of northwestern Wyoming where Cheney lives and where she won three-quarters of the vote Tuesday, Democrats who changed their party registration to vote for Cheney in the primaries speculated about her future.
Sandy Buckstaff, a 67-year-old retiree from Jackson, waited in line outside the Teton County library on Election Day to convert his registration to vote for Cheney “although I disagree with her on policy positions from soup to nuts.” .”
“The Republican Party has left me,” said Buckstaff, a former Republican who has voted for Democrats in recent years. “When I saw Liz Cheney do the right thing, I thought, what the hell?”
He said he is “curious” about Cheney’s future but would not vote for her in any GOP presidential primaries.
“I don’t see where she finds hope in that,” Buckstaff said, “because the Republican Party grassroots won’t support her.”
John Grant, a Republican who voted for Cheney on Tuesday, said that while her stance is only a small part of current GOP thinking, he hopes she goes ahead with a presidential bid.
“I really think she has a future,” Grant said. “But I think it’s going to take a while — there are a lot of Trump supporters out there.”
This story has been updated with additional developments.
CNN’s Gabby Orr and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.