CASPER, Wyoming — Former President Donald Trump’s congressional allies have ramped up their efforts to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), with multiple high-profile conservatives traveling to her home state in an effort to boost her primary opponent Harriet Hageman over the weekend.
In a mix of in-person and video speeches, politicians including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-OH), former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL), and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) took aim at Cheney, accusing her of being a “RINO” (Republican in name only) during a Trump rally on Saturday.
TRUMP HOLDS RALLY IN WYOMING AS HE TRIES TO OUST LIZ CHENEY
Trump has made Cheney one of his top targets, calling for GOP lawmakers to support Hageman and often releasing statements taking aim at Cheney over her vote to impeach him and her decision to join the Jan. 6 select committee to investigate the riot at the Capitol. Cheney, who filed for reelection on Thursday, has asserted she won’t back down from her rebukes of Trump, calling for the party to move away from the former president.
Following her speech, Cammack told the Washington Examiner she feels that Cheney’s decision to join the Jan. 6 select committee was divisive for members of the GOP conference.
“This is indicative of where the base is at, the base is no longer about the country club Republican, they want fighters. They want people who are going to stand up and push back and really hold Nancy Pelosi accountable, not join the committee that all the other Republicans got kicked off,” Cammack said.
“So this is more about supporting an 'America First' candidate than anything else, because I truly believe we've got to be one team, one mission when we take the House back, and I say 'when' deliberately because we will," she added.
McCarthy, who has publicly been at odds with Cheney, accused her of “pandering to the liberal media" in a video address.
“Wyoming needs a congresswoman in the House of Representatives who prioritizes the needs of her constituents, but, unfortunately, you don’t have that. Instead, you have a congresswoman who is obsessed with attacking President Donald J. Trump and pandering to the liberal media,” he said in the clip. “Fortunately, on Tuesday, August 16, you have a chance to vote for a tireless advocate for the people of Wyoming, Harriet Hageman.”
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who did not give a speech but flew in with Trump to the Cowboy State in support of Hageman, argued that if Cheney is reelected, she “will have zero voice” in the party.
“I, like many Republicans in my party, have tried my best to stay out of this. I had a relationship with the Cheneys, as you know. I took care of them when I first got to the White House. I was her father's doctor for a while, I took care of her and her family, and I tried my best to just stay out of this,” Jackson told the Washington Examiner. “But it's gotten to the point now where I have to speak out, I have to say something. And that's one of the reasons that I'm here tonight is because we are done.”
A Cheney spokesperson denied Jackson's claims, saying in a statement to the Washington Examiner, "Ronny Jackson was not Vice President Cheney’s doctor, nor was he the Cheney family doctor. For the eight years he was Vice President, Dr. Jon Reiner was his cardiologist and Dr. Lew Hofman was Vice President Cheney’s White House physician.”
Reiner tweeted in response to this report, concurring with Cheney's representative. "Actually I was the VP’s doctor for all 8 years and Ronny had nothing to do with him," he said.
Ronny Jackson told the @dcexaminer that he was Vice President Dick Cheney’s doctor for a while. Actually I was the VP’s doctor for all 8 years and Ronny had nothing to do with him. https://t.co/ys243thDlS— Jonathan Reiner (@JReinerMD) May 30, 2022
Jackson shot back, insisting he was assigned to the former vice president as a doctor.
“When I first arrived at the White House, I was absolutely one of the White House physicians assigned to take care of Vice President Cheney," he told the Washington Examiner after this report was first published. "One of two, in fact. I was the junior physician at the time and was with him any time the more senior physician assigned to him wasn’t. I carried his medical bag and traveled with him often. If he didn’t feel well, it was my job to examine him and provide the care and medications he might need. And I did. I absolutely had a doctor-patient relationship with Vice President Cheney and was one of his physicians.”
And Boebert, a firebrand conservative and vocal Trump ally, railed against Cheney, noting she ousted a longtime GOP member of Congress in her own primary.
“I got here by taking out a five-term Republican incumbent. I am Wyoming, a professional RINO hunter, and it's been brought to my attention that your RINO in chief needs to be taken out of Wyoming,” she told the crowd. “Let me tell you, Wyoming. This is where you make the difference. Liz Cheney may have the DCCC's money, but Harriet Hagaman has something far better than PACs — she has we, the people, who will speak up and elect her.”
While Cheney has been attacked by Trump supporters who allege she has been an ally to Democrats, she does not receive funding from the House Democrats’ campaign arm.
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Cheney was ousted as the House Republican Conference chairwoman — the No. 3 position in House GOP leadership, which entails leading the caucus’s messaging efforts — over her unwavering criticisms of Trump and her vote for impeachment after the Capitol riot.
Cheney allies have argued that Trump-endorsed candidates losing in recent races show his endorsement may not be what it once was and have noted that Cheney largely voted with the former president while he was in office.
The primary election is slated to take place on Aug. 16.