White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Wednesday he had enormous respect for Rep. Liz Cheney’s commitment to opposing former President Donald Trump's hold on the Republican Party and that her defeat in Tuesday's Wyoming GOP primary is evidence that "the American people are going to have to fight for their democracy."
“Congresswoman Cheney and I disagree I think on every single issue in American politics. I don't think there's anything we agree on,” Klain said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But I respect enormously her commitment to democracy. I respect enormously that she took an oath of office to the Constitution and stood behind that oath, instead of her commitment to one man.”
The congresswoman, who was seeking a fourth term, was defeated in Tuesday’s GOP primary by Harriet Hageman, a Trump-endorsed challenger, who accused Cheney throughout their primary campaign of being out of touch with the Wyoming electorate.
Klain went on to say he also respected the Wyoming Republican for denouncing the “Big Lie,” a conspiracy that Trump has spread since 2020 — falsely claiming that the presidential election was stolen from him and denying President Joe Biden’s win. Cheney is among handful of GOP lawmakers who have publicly denounced Trump and his claims, a stance that prompted House Republicans to oust her from party leadership.
Cheney cemented her role as Trump’s top political target with her vote last year to impeach the then-president for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The Wyoming lawmaker is the ranking member on the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 insurrection, a role she was appointed to by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Klain said Wednesday that Cheney lost the primary “only because she wouldn't bend to the will of the ultra-MAGA wing of this Republican Party and swear fealty to Donald Trump.”
“That tells you a lot about the state of the Republican Party in this country right now, and how extreme and how devoted to Donald Trump it is,” the White House chief of staff said.
Democrats are expected to face an uphill battle in November’s elections, with inflation soaring and Biden’s approval rating falling below 40 percent — a statistic that is historically tied to the performance of the president’s party in midterm races. But Klain on Wednesday predicted a rebound in the president's poll numbers, touting Biden's signature on the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats’ expansive health care, tax and climate spending package.
“I think we are going to see the American people respond to the leadership they're seeing from President Biden,” Klain said. “That we are going to see the American people respond to the leadership they're seeing from Democrats on Capitol Hill. And I think obviously we have a measuring stick coming in November, and I think you’re going to see the American people respond to that.”