Listen To The Full Interview Below:
Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined Fox News Radio’s Guy Benson Show to discuss her ouster as the House Republican conference chairwoman and the future of the Republican party. Cheney also reacted to Elise Stefanik’s win and revealed who she supported as her successor.
Full Transcript Below:
GUY BENSON, FOX RADIO HOST: And with that, let’s bring in our next guest. It is Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming. And Congresswoman, it’s good to have you here. Thanks for making time for us.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Hey, Guy. Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.
BENSON: You bet. So, I want to start briefly on Israel. It is quite concerning to me and almost depressing that there seems to be almost a Hamas cheering section in Congress right now, whether overtly or through this moral equivalence that a lot of people are attaching to this situation. This crops up every time Israel defends itself. One member of the House, one of your colleagues on the other side of the aisle, referred to Israel’s self-defense as terrorism, and they’re sort of trying to reframe actual terrorism as self-defense. I mean, it’s completely backwards. They’re pressuring the White House to go harder and take a tougher line on our ally, Israel. What is your view – in your estimation, what should U.S. policy be in response to this, what, thousand plus rocket attack against the state of Israel?
CHENEY: Well, I think you’ve laid out exactly the key points, Guy, and I think that we see consistently this notion of moral equivalence. I think what you have happening right now in Israel, these attacks from Gaza. You got Hamas that obviously uses schools and hospitals as places to station their weapon systems. You’ve got this massive tunnel network, and then, you know, as they’re attacking, you have, you know, some of my Democratic colleagues suggesting that somehow Israel is to blame. And Israel absolutely has the right to defend herself (ph), and that’s the most important thing, frankly. And if you want to have peace in that region, everybody ought to be focused on making sure Hamas is defeated and supporting Israel and their efforts to defeat terrorists. You know, we’ve seen ever since the state of Israel was created, efforts to delegitimize Israel and international organizations at the U.N. and other international organizations. And the United States relationship with Israel and our willingness to stand with Israel and stand against the kind of, you know, anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiment that we see too often from some on the other side of the aisle is really crucial for their security and for our security.
BENSON: Congresswoman, let’s shift to the conversation that you are engaged in right now about the future of the Republican Party. I watched — you had a very spirited conversation with our colleague, Bret Baier, last night on “Special Report”. I want to come at it this way, because some people – and I’ve had conversations on the air and in private about the whole situation of you being removed from Republican leadership in the House. And some of the critics say, well, she’s obsessed with the former president and going back to the 2020 election and the big lie, and it’s divisive. So, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, said just the other day, quote, “I don’t think anyone is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election,” and the thing is, I can think of someone who is a lot, frequently, and he puts out statements seemingly every day for the last few weeks, talking about Arizona or Michigan or New Hampshire, which was a new one to me, where, you know, he’s talking about this — former President Trump is talking about this. You respond, and then some people attack you as if you’re the one that’s going down this path. Let me put it to you this way — if the former president had stopped looking backwards and making these claims about the last election, would you have been commenting on it proactively?
CHENEY: No. Look, I think they’re – you know, everybody would much rather be in a situation where after the election, Donald Trump behaved in a way that every other defeated president ever has, which was concede and, you know, live the life of a former president. But that’s obviously not what’s happened, including, you know, in the period after the election, obviously provoking an attack on the Capitol. And – and so, I think that, you know, we’re in a situation today where the continued efforts to undermine our rule of law, and the continued efforts to claim the election was stolen or was rigged, are really – they’re dangerous. And a lot of voters out there believe them, and still believe them. And I think one of the most important things we have to do as elected officials is stand up for the truth and make sure we’re doing everything we can to convey the facts and the reality that the election wasn’t stolen, that, you know, you – once the courts have ruled, once the Electoral College has met, that is really the end of our process, and we have to be a nation of laws. So, I think it’s important for us going forward to base, sort of, the rebuilding of our party on truth and not be dragged backwards by Donald Trump and the lies about the last election.
BENSON: There’s another sort of line of argument or way of thinking that says, OK, the feud with Trump is definitely part of it, but, you know, oh, she’s very hawkish on foreign policy, or they’ll use the word warmonger, and then there – you know, she said some things about Russia and Trump. And you were asked about that last night by Bret. There are other things involved here. And to distill it into my curiosity, based on your experience, in your opinion and the lay of the land among House Republicans, if you had not been critical of Trump about the 2020 election and his claims, notwithstanding your disagreements on foreign policy or what you said about Russia or anything else, if you had not criticized him publicly on that issue, 2020 and the election, would you still be House Republican Conference chair today?
CHENEY: Well, I guess I look at it a little bit differently. You know, I would say, first of all, it – this is not about policy at all. And if you look at my voting record, I voted 93 percent of the time with him, supported his policies, you know, a vast majority of the time — and still do, you know, support deregulation and cutting taxes and investing in our military, those are all really important things — securing our border. So, it isn’t about policy. You know, for me, obviously, the claims he began to make after the election in particular, and then January 6 changed everything and, you know, created a situation where you – you know, you had a line that could never be crossed. And I’m not willing to be silent in the face of the continued claims that he’s making about the election. I’m not willing to participate in, you know, perpetuating a lie. And I think that’s – it’s dangerous for the republic; it’s dangerous from the perspective of the Constitution. And it prevents us from moving forward, because we have to be willing to convince people who left us in 2020 that they ought to come back again. And the only way to do that is by being clear that, you know, our party is one that’s based on substance and ideas, and that — that we — we are committed to the truth and that we reject lies.
BENSON: Now — now, some voters certainly left in 2020. But, I mean, there are — millions more voters came out and supported President Trump this time than they did in 2016, right? So, what’s your response to that point?
CHENEY: Yes, look, I think that — that people were betrayed. And that for the same reasons that I supported him and his policies, you know, millions of others did too. And the policies are clearly far better for the country than the Biden policies. You know, the Biden policies are dangerous and misguided. They led to a crisis at the border. You know, trying to re-enter the Iranian nuclear deal, not standing strong for Israel, imposing oil and gas lease — a ban on oil and gas leases on public land. If you match up the polices, there’s no match. The Biden policies are far, far worse. But it’s not about the policies. It’s about —
BENSON: Right. There’s the — there’s this separate issue here —
CHENEY: — whether we’re going to standing for the Constitution.
BENSON: So, today, and we played some of the sound at the top of the segment, your colleagues made a new decision. Elise Stefanik of New York is the new Conference chair. She was up against Chip Roy. She beat him pretty handily. She had the endorsement of President Trump. Whom did you support in that leadership race and why?
CHENEY: Look, I think that it’s important for us to have people in leadership who are willing to defend the Constitution. You know, I think that Chip and I were in different places on impeachment obviously, but Chip was in the right place when it came to counting electoral votes. And it’s clear, you know, from my perspective this is about a much bigger issue. I don’t believe that — that we ought to be embracing Donald Trump as a leader of the party. I think that he’s forfeited his right to participate in that role. And you know, I’m not willing to say the things that others in leadership are. So, you know, I think — I think my view —
BENSON: So (ph) —
CHENEY: — on the situation’s pretty clear.
BENSON: You supported Chip Roy is that — my interpretation.
CHENEY: Chip Roy has my — has my support, yes.
BENSON: Got it, OK. And then, you didn’t support Stefanik. She won. You were just in that position. She’s a young woman. Do you have any advice for Elise Stefanik joining leadership for the first time?
CHENEY: No, I’m confident that she’s — she’s got a sense of where she wants to go. It’s — it’s not where I think the party needs to go. And you know, I’m going to be very focused on what we need to do to be able to rebuild our party on a basis of truth. I think that’s fundamentally important and, you know, obviously, I’m not willing to perpetuate a lie. And I think also because of my experience working in countries overseas, where I’ve seen authoritarianism firsthand, where I’ve — I’ve seen places where they don’t have a peaceful transition of power, you know, I bring that experience to bear as I look at the situation we’re in right now as a nation. And I know this is far more important than politics. And there are some things that have to be above partisanship, and this is certainly one of those.
BENSON: Yes. You talk about the future and rebuilding the party. I know you’ve been asked a few different times, different ways about whether you might think about running for president in 2024. Last night, you said you are not running for president, which is present tense. Maybe I’m nitpicking or parsing here a little bit. That’s different than, I am not and will not. Is that later part still TBD on your end? Are you thinking about it?
CHENEY: Look, right now I’m focused on getting re-elected in Wyoming —
BENSON: Yes (ph).
CHENEY: I’m focused on making sure that we elect Republicans who believe in the Constitution and who understand how important it is for us to be looking to the future. And that’s what my focus is.
BENSON: OK, and speaking of getting re-elected in Wyoming, you said — in the NBC interview, about some of these primary challenges that are absolutely coming your way, you said, bring it on. Here’s what I’m wondering, in terms of your mindset here, was – the voters of your state overwhelmingly in Wyoming, especially the Republicans in your state of Wyoming, are hugely supportive of President Trump. He won a lot of votes in your state. How are you going to try to message to them – how are you going to try to convince someone who really likes President Trump a lot, a strong Trump supporter in your state that, in spite of this sort of drama and feud and strong disagreement, that you deserve to remain the party’s nominee and retain your seat in Congress? And then how might that path or the pitch to that voter be different than the pitch that you delivered to your Republican colleagues in the House who obviously didn’t embrace it?
CHENEY: Well, I think, you know — first of all, Wyoming is a place that’s always been where candidates — we spend our time talking to people individually, that one-on-one, in person, you know — we – it’s a small state population-wise and a place where, you know, people really value the chance to sit down and hear from each other and exchange views. It’s also a place of strong fidelity to the Constitution. And, you know, I know that my voters elected me to uphold my oath. My voters elected me to do what’s right, that that is absolutely above everything else and crucially important. And looking at what we’ve got to do to make sure that we defeat the Democrats, you know, the single most important thing we can do for Wyoming is to get Republicans in office in the White House, in the Senate, in the majority in the House, to make sure we can stop these bad policies. And that in order to do that, we’ve got to make sure the party can get back to voters who left it. So, talking about my accomplishments, what an honor it is to represent Wyoming in Congress, and talking about the oath that we take to the Constitution. And there are some voters I find as we have these discussions who, you know, learn things that they didn’t know about that day and about my vote. There are some who say, we disagree with that, but we support, you know, so much of the rest of things you’ve done that we’re going to be with you. There are some who – you know, whose minds won’t change. But at the end of the day –
BENSON: Well and it can (ph) – with respect –
CHENEY: I feel confident about it (ph) – sorry –
BENSON: Congresswoman, I would just say we’re up on a break. No one can say of you that you do not say what is on your mind very explicitly, very specifically whenever anyone asks you a question. That is something – that is not a knock against you.
CHENEY: I don’t know if that’s a compliment, Guy.
BENSON: No, I — from me, it is. I think for some people –
CHENEY: Thank you.
BENSON: — they’re probably mad about it. But I — you know, I think people like people who tell the truth and who fight, and you have done both of those things in my estimation, and there’s going to be quite a road ahead here. We’ll be watching carefully. We appreciate your time. We always do, and even when — agree or disagree, we hope you’ll come back.
CHENEY: Well, I always will. Thanks for everything you do, Guy, and thanks for having me on.
BENSON: You bet. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Republican, Wyoming on the “Guy Benson Show”.