Rep. Cheney says Trump 'clearly unfit' for future office, citing his refusal to stop Jan. 6 attack on Capitol
- Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. says Trump incited rioters on Jan. 6, is "unfit" for future office.
- Cheney, vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, says GOP should reject Trump as its nominee.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, said former President Donald Trump is "clearly unfit" to hold future office in light of testimony that he watched the insurrection unfold and ignored pleas to intervene.
In an interview with "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Cheney said the Jan. 6 committee now has first-hand testimony that Trump watched the attack on television in the dining room near the Oval Office while staffers and family members, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, asked him to tell the rioters to stand down.
"Any man who would watch television as police officers were being beaten, as his supporters were invading the Capitol of the United States, is clearly unfit for future office," said Cheney, R-Wyo., adding that Trump should "never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again."
Cheney's remarks came just days before the anniversary of the attack, in which Trump supporters breached the Capitol in an effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden's electoral win in the 2020 presidential contest. About 140 police officers were injured in the attack, and four died by suicide in the weeks that followed. Lawmakers and staffers were traumatized by the assault.
When asked if she agreed with former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's assertion that another Trump presidency could be the end of U.S. democracy, Cheney responded, "I do," and added that Trump crossed lines no American president has ever crossed before.
"We entrust the survival of our Republic into the hands of the chief executive," Cheney said. "And when a president refuses to tell the mob to stop, when he refuses to defend any of the coordinate branches of government, he cannot be trusted."
Cheney, a conservative, cautioned her party against supporting Trump's possible presidential bid in 2024.
"I think we need conservative, principled leadership," Cheney said. "But the Republican party has to make a choice. We can either be loyal to our Constitution or loyal to Donald Trump. But we cannot be both."
She said the GOP cannot "be a party that's based on lies. We've got to be based on a foundation of truth and fidelity to the rule of law and in my view the most conservative of conservative principles is fidelity to the Constitution."
In May, the House Republican Conference voted to remove Cheney as conference chair. Conservative New York Rep. Elise Stefanik was elected to replace her.
In November, the Wyoming GOP voted to no longer consider Cheney a member for repeatedly criticizing Trump.
Reach out to Chelsey Cox on Twitter at @therealco.