Liz Cheney, the anti-Trump Wyoming Republican Representative, put her career on the line as one of only two GOP members on the Jan. 6 committee.
However, after the first public hearing on Thursday, she was widely praised for her courage and her performance as a prosecutor in bringing the case against former President Donald Trump.
Supreme Court attorney Neal Katyal described her opening statement as “on fire,” calling it, “Just perfect. Balanced, down-to-earth, methodological.”
Others said the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney made a “scathing indictment of Donald Trump” and “made her mark on history”. Anna Navarro-Cárdenas van The view praised the “shocking truth spoken” by Ms. Cheney.
the stronghold editor Bill Kristol tweeted: “Liz Cheney’s presentation will, in my opinion, go down in the history books: Congress at its best, truth-telling at its best, American democracy at its best.”
Conservative lawyer and commentator George Conway called her, “A Profile in Courage for the 21st Century,” while former presidential candidate Andrew Yang said, “All due respect and admiration to Liz Cheney for having both courage and principles.”
At the time of the Capitol riots, she was the third-highest Republican in the House of Representatives. The incident turned her into an outraged critic of then-President Donald Trump and she was one of ten GOP House lawmakers to vote for his impeachment.
Despite bona fide credentials as a staunch conservative, she has since been shunned by almost her entire party.
Ms Cheney’s opening statement at Thursday’s hearing was laced with new information from the committee’s findings. This included the claim that members of her own party who had supported Donald Trump’s claims of a rigged election subsequently asked for a pardon for their actions.
In what was considered a “historic” quote by public affairs strategist Steve Schmidt, Ms. Cheney said: “Tonight I say this to my Republican colleagues who defend the indefensible: One day Trump will be gone. But your dishonor will remain.”
Dave Aronberg, District Attorney for Palm Beach County, noted, “Last night’s powerful hearing may not affect public opinion much, but it certainly caught the attention of AG Merrick Garland and DOJ.”
“It’s no coincidence that Rep Liz Cheney sounded more like a prosecutor than a lawmaker,” he added, before talking about the lawmaker’s target, Mr. Trump: “Knowing you’ve lost the election is evidence of criminal intent.”
Perhaps more succinctly, actor and activist George Takei tweeted, “Liz Cheney has come with the receipts.”
Ms. Cheney’s national praise for her performance has a bittersweet edge. In her scarlet home state of Wyoming, she is nominated by pro-Trump candidate Harriet Hageman.
Her opposition to the former president has alienated her from the Republican Party and many of its supporters, and has come under constant attack from Mr. Trump and his allies.
Polls suggest that her presence on the commission, opposition to Trump and Jan. 6 focus on the state is damaging her reputation.
An investigation seen by NBC News and prepared by a Hageman-supporting super PAC, Cheney is 28-56 percent behind. It reportedly mirrors other polls of the match. Trump remains hugely popular in Wyoming and the primary is scheduled for August 16.
Nevertheless, with a recently launched ad buy, Ms. Cheney presents herself as both being there for the needs of her constituents, while also telling supporters that what she does on the committee is a responsibility based on her principles and commitment to the Constitution .
She set personal bests for fundraising ahead of the race thanks in part to her role on the committee, but political strategists have said she will likely need some votes from Democrats and Independents to win and she remains a conservative, so that could be a high demand from voters.
With such a presence on the national stage, there has also been talk in Washington about Ms. Cheney using her political status to mount a 2024 presidential run against Mr. Trump, should he run for office.
With additional coverage from Associated Press