That was then

For a few minutes there most Republicans in Congress accepted that the insurrection wasn’t the best idea ever. They’re back to normal now though.

Odds are that the erstwhile Republican party comrades of Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming will soon vote to purge her from the ranks of their leadership. Cheney, who occupies the third-highest position in the House Republican Conference and is the daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, survived a similar removal effort in early February, after she was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former president Donald Trump. At the time, House Republicans decided to retain Cheney as conference chair by a 145-61 margin, while the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, told reporters that “Liz has a right to vote her conscience.”

But that was three months ago, when even Republican leaders like McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell acknowledged that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” (in McConnell’s words) for provoking the mob that stormed the Capitol on 6 January in an attempt to overturn the election. 

Three months = plenty of time to decide that it’s better to stick with Trump and his lies about the election, because [???].

Since then, however, the Republican base has continued to uphold Trump’s false claim that the election was stolen from him and have pushed to remove any party officeholders who say otherwise. A recent CNN poll confirmed that 70% of Republicans say Biden did not win enough votes to be president and half believe (without evidence) that solid proof of Trump’s victory exists.

So congressional Republicans, always reluctant to stand up against Trump and his supporters, are edging toward the view that Cheney must go. Her crime, as they see it, is that unlike McConnell and McCarthy she did not fall silent about Trump in the aftermath of impeachment and publicly declared that she would not support him if he were to run for the presidency again in 2024. As Trump has howled for Cheney’s political demise, internal Republican criticism of her has mounted.

In short, the Republicans are determined to be worse and stay worse. Interesting choice.

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