Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney had a bad weekend.
As turmoil in Afghanistan undermines the aggressively interventionist foreign policy championed by Cheney and the pre-Trump-era Republican Party for decades, the FBI, according to Reuters on Friday, revealed that the bureau had “scant evidence” that the Jan. 6 riot was a coordinated insurrection. Quite the timing.
Cheney went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to capitalize on the chaos overseas, using it to make her case against troop withdrawal in a nation given up to the Taliban once American forces began to come home.
“I don’t think that there’s any question that we have to maintain, we needed to maintain, a presence on the ground,” Cheney said, taking the opportunity to criticize both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump for the decision to leave Afghanistan.
Cheney-style nation-building with no end in sight, however, has left the Taliban ruling more territory than pre-9/11 and now equipped with an estimated $28 billion in American-supplied weaponry. One can only imagine how much more would be in Taliban possession the longer U.S. forces fought an unwinnable battle at Cheney’s demand, dumping supplies in the war-torn nation swept by the radical Islamist group.
In order to stay, Cheney peddled conspiracies last summer on the heels of Trump’s declared withdrawal effort claiming the Russians were placing bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Trump, the story went, remained apathetic to appease his Kremlin allies.
The story was a lie, of course, and Cheney was a primary culprit of its spread. She aimed to simultaneously justify American presence in the region while hampering Trump’s chances for re-election, a preview of her year to come.
As chaos unfolds in Afghanistan, the House investigation into the hysterically branded January “insurrection” has continued to move onward with Cheney at the helm. Though she’s not chairing the select committee that Republicans were kicked off of, the at-large congresswoman was hand-selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give the investigation’s opening remarks. Cheney is one of two registered Republicans to sit on the probe, with the other being Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, which says all you need to know about the Democrats’ partisan show-trial.
Cheney faced no questions on “Meet the Press” about the Jan. 6 probe. The focus was rightly on Afghanistan, the fall of which has put the hysterics behind the investigation in some much-needed perspective. The recent admission from the FBI, however, that the agency has come up short in its quest to find evidence that the January Capitol riot was a seditiously organized insurrection, marks the continued decline of Cheney’s supposed rise.
In January, the three-term congresswoman, who was then still serving as chair of the House Republican Conference, launched a futile effort to corral GOP support for the Democrats’ snap impeachment over Trump’s “incitement of insurrection.”
“This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic,” Cheney said in a statement at the time, despite the only death occurring as a direct result of the day’s events being demonstrator Ashli Babbitt’s. On Monday, the Capitol Police said the officer responsible would not be charged, and their identity would remain concealed.
While Cheney tried to cultivate a GOP uprising on impeachment, only nine other Republicans joined the Wyoming congresswoman — representative of the Bush-era neocons on the measure — at least five of whom had already declared their support for it. She survived a referendum on her role in House leadership less than a month later but was eventually ousted from the coveted No. 3 spot in May as she continued to escalate her ongoing feud with the former Republican president and agitate GOP voters.
No defining battle fought by Cheney has become triumphant throughout her entire five-year tenure in the lower chamber, save for her own re-election. Now even that sits in doubt. According to a new poll from McLaughlin & Associates last month, 77 percent of Wyoming Republican primary voters said they would cast their votes for another candidate, eight of which are running.
Will Cheney come out on top? Her recent track record says no. A bigger question is whether Trump will endorse, and whom, to narrow the field and prevent a split vote sending Cheney back to Washington for a fourth term.