While Republican lawmakers condemned the failed siege on the United States Capitol this past January, few were willing to acknowledge the role former President Donald Trump played in inciting it.
For months—up until minutes before the riots—Trump insisted to his supporters that Democrats, through widespread election fraud, had "stolen" the 2020 presidential election victory from him.
Believing his lies, the pro-Trump extremists shattered windows, smeared excrement across the walls, and endangered the lives of every lawmaker present when they stormed the Capitol, upending the joint Congressional session to nationally acknowledge Biden's electoral college victory.
One of the few Republicans willing to rebuke Trump's lies was Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who voted to impeach Trump a historic second time for inciting an insurrection.
Cheney said in a statement at the time:
"The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."
That statement earned her the ire of the entire Republican party. Cheney was subsequently censured by her state's GOP. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida went to Cheney's district to drum up opposition among her constituents. She faced calls for her removal from Republican congressional leadership.
Cheney's critics in the Republican party seized on another chance to malign her this week, when Cheney fist bumped President Joe Biden just before his address to a joint session of Congress.
Breaking News: Donald Trump's head explodes after seeing Liz Cheney enjoy a fist bump with President Joe Biden. 😂 https://t.co/csbvgj53mH— Darby Desper (@Darby Desper) 1619744644.0
The former President's son, Donald Trump Jr., skewered Cheney for the show of courtesy.
“Republican” warmonger Liz Cheney gives Sleepy Joe a fist bump after he delivered a radical socialist vision for th… https://t.co/N0exn53GtV— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.) 1619725796.0
Calling Cheney a Democrat, Trump Jr. railed against the Congresswoman for giving the equivalent of a handshake to the President of the United States. It was yet another example of the unwavering loyalty demanded by the Trump family of those who support its patriarch—a loyalty that's deepened American divisions and accelerated the Republican party's move to the far-right.
Cheney, without naming Trump Jr., rebuked these criticisms on Twitter.
I disagree strongly w/@JoeBiden policies, but when the President reaches out to greet me in the chamber of the US H… https://t.co/hQvQ8NBehN— Liz Cheney (@Liz Cheney) 1619741241.0
People praised Cheney's response.
Whether agree or disagree with the President's policies, you did the right thing because that's what leaders do. https://t.co/ubji3Tj6Ct— Michael Steele (@Michael Steele) 1619743600.0
I don’t agree with Liz Cheney on many policies, but I respect the hell out of her. This is why ⬇️ We need more of… https://t.co/VQAv2GHj2v— Aaron Parnas (@Aaron Parnas) 1619741410.0
We need more leaders who think like this. Just because we're different political parties does not mean we have to… https://t.co/vUXnlkH8cM— Reed Howard (@Reed Howard) 1619744616.0
Many found it sad her words even needed to be said.
oh man the fact she had to tweet this https://t.co/Uz4CrUCule— Adam Smith (@Adam Smith) 1619744793.0
Good for her. But this shouldn’t require an explanation. She’s simply acting like an adult who was raised right. https://t.co/bXGuChLR4n— Rory Cooper (@Rory Cooper) 1619785601.0
It is incredible that this needs to be said, but good for @Liz_Cheney for saying it. https://t.co/S0p6p3FTZB— Benjamin Wittes (@Benjamin Wittes) 1619786480.0
Reactions from Trump's supporters further displayed the need for the statement.
Really Cheney? Really? The man is working to destroy the very country you and your father pretend to care so deeply… https://t.co/lovNhS0a45— Dan Garrison (@Dan Garrison) 1619750862.0
You represent everything that's wrong with the GOP. https://t.co/OGFtaxsXYM— Jeff Carlson (@Jeff Carlson) 1619787923.0
Cheney is reportedly considering a presidential run in 2024.