Cheney Censure

In this Jan. 10, 2020, file photo, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks with reporters as lawmakers leave the Capitol in Washington. The Wyoming Republican Party voted overwhelmingly Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 to censure Cheney for voting to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

CHEYENNE – The Laramie County Republican Party’s central committee voted Tuesday evening to censure Congresswoman Liz Cheney for her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, joining Republicans in more than a dozen other Wyoming counties, as well as the statewide GOP, in taking the action.

The vote by the local committee came about a month after Cheney, the state’s sole member and the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. At the time, she said the president “summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.”

Her impeachment vote resulted in her being censured by the Wyoming Republican Party during its meeting in Rawlins earlier this month.

Unlike the censure resolution approved by the Wyoming GOP, the one adopted during the Laramie County Republican Party’s central committee does not call on Cheney to resign, though it includes many of the same concerns outlined by the state-level committee.

Specifically, the county’s resolution states Cheney’s actions “stand in contradiction to the quantifiable will of the majority of the electorate of Wyoming” and devalued “the political influence of the state of Wyoming by voting in favor of a process that followed no known hearing process, provided no evidence to consider, called no witnesses to be sworn and allowed none of the accusers to be questioned by the accused.”

During the committee meeting Tuesday night, a handful of members spoke to the crowd, which included about 50 party members and roughly a dozen members of the public. Renae Snider, who brought the resolution before the committee, echoed a main point in the resolution, arguing Cheney’s impeachment vote was made without any due process being given to the former president.

“This is not because we love Trump,” Snider said. “It is about that she voted without due process, without having witnesses (and) without having a hearing.”

Others had similar concerns. Committee member Mike Heath said Cheney’s impeachment vote was an “unforgivable act,” and he was hopeful that a censure vote would draw Cheney back to the state to apologize.

“She has betrayed us as her constituents, she has betrayed the state of Wyoming, she has betrayed the country, and she’s betrayed the Constitution that she has sworn an oath to support and defend,” Heath said.

Although most were displeased with Cheney’s impeachment vote, a couple of party members rose in opposition to the censure resolution, which was ultimately adopted by a 38-19 margin. Committee member Bruce Thomson, one of two to speak against it, referenced the words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in saying Trump was “morally and practically responsible” for the Capitol riot of Jan. 6.

“I think it’s a question of the truth, of the facts,” Thomson said.

Beyond its exclusion of a call for Cheney to resign, the Laramie County resolution had a few other differences from the one adopted by the Wyoming GOP. For example, an amendment brought by committee member Don Erickson and approved by the body eliminated a clause in the resolution that stated “video evidence suggests the riot at the capital was instigated by ANTIFA and BLM radicals,” whereas the state-level resolution kept that language.

After the county’s vote Tuesday evening, a spokesman for Cheney provided a statement to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle identical to the one the third-term congresswoman offered after the Wyoming GOP’s censure vote earlier this month.

“I’m honored to represent the people of Wyoming in Congress and will always fight for the issues that matter most to our state,” Cheney said in the statement. “Foremost among these is the defense of our Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees.

“My vote to impeach was compelled by the oath I swore to the Constitution,” she continued in the statement. “Wyoming citizens know that this oath does not bend or yield to politics or partisanship. I will always fight for Wyoming values and stand up for our Western way of life. We have great challenges ahead of us as we move forward and combat the disastrous policies of the Biden administration. I look forward to continuing to work with officials and citizens across Wyoming to be the most effective voice and advocate in defense of our families, industries and communities.”

With the vote Tuesday, the Laramie County GOP joins Republican parties in 16 other Wyoming counties that have voted to censure Cheney, according to Snider. Over the weekend, the Senate voted by a 57-43 margin to acquit Trump, with both of Wyoming’s delegates – U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis – arguing the impeachment trial was unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president.

Tom Coulter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at tcoulter@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3124. Follow him on Twitter at @tomcoulter_.

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