The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time on Wednesday in a bipartisan effort that charged him with “incitement of insurrection” for the pro-Trump riots that seized the U.S. Capitol last week.
The chamber’s vote included all 222 Democrats, as well as ten members of the GOP, which “constituted the largest group to ever vote to impeach a president from their own party.” Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House, led the GOP effort to impeach Trump, and was joined by several other colleagues including Republican Reps. John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.).
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the President,” Cheney said in a statement on Tuesday prior to the House vote.
But Cheney’s decision has received backlash from conservatives, with the president’s allies moving forward to swiftly kick her from her leadership post.
Members of the Freedom Caucus began creating a petition Wednesday to force a special meeting to contest whether the group should vote on a resolution that would press the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress to withdraw from her position, according to POLITICO. This effort included Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) affirming, “The conference ought to vote on that” at the Capitol on Wednesday, even though Cheney was unanimously voted into the top spot in November.
Cheney, however, sees the initiative differently.
“I’m not going anywhere. This is a vote of conscience,” she told POLITICO in the Capitol.
It’s not uncommon for Cheney to break ranks with Trump, as she’s collided with the president on a number of foreign policy issues and ways to mitigate the coronavirus. Cheney condemned Trump’s military removal from several theaters. She rejected the Republican push to overturn the 2020 election results that was based on false instances of voter fraud.
The Wyoming Representative is also an avid supporter of mask-wearing and social distancing measures and championed Dr. Anthony Fauci for his work during the pandemic.
But Cheney’s move to support impeaching Trump, according to experts, is unlikely to interfere with her political career in the safe Republican state.
“I don’t think Representative Cheney’s vote on impeachment will have a significant impact on her future in Wyoming politics,” Dr. James D. King, political science professor at the University of Wyoming, said. “President Trump is popular in Wyoming but the events of January 6 might trim his popularity a bit.”
King added that her voting record “conforms with majority opinion in Wyoming” and is similar to previous congressional leaders and members of the GOP who represented the state.
Speculation has murmured about the 2022 midterms and how Cheney’s vote will impact her reelection chances.
Michael Allen Gillespie, political science and philosophy professor at Duke University, said that her impeachment vote “was right and that that will either hurt or help her reelection depending on what happens in the next few weeks and months.”
“She may have considered this question but my sense is that she would have voted to impeach whether she thought it would help or hurt her chances,” Gillespie added.
If the GOP distances itself from the president, then Cheney could see herself rising in the ranks within the Republican Party and even become the House speaker if the chamber shifts red during next year’s election.
King noted, “A challenger might bring up the impeachment vote but it is rare that a single vote in Congress is detrimental to a member’s career.”
Prior to serving as a congresswoman, Cheney worked as a State Department official periodically and took a pause at the department in 2003 to work on her father’s reelection campaign for the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney ticket, participating in the “W Stands for Women” fight to encourage female voter turnout.
In 2008, she also joined Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) presidential campaign as a senior foreign policy advisor.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.