February 21, 2024

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — On a mission to keep former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House, former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney implored New Hampshire voters Friday to use their upcoming presidential primary to send a message to the world.

“Speak for us all. Tell the world who we are with your vote. Tell them that we are a good and a great nation,” she said at Dartmouth College a little over two weeks before the Jan. 23 primary. “But make sure they know that we do not bend, we do not break and we do not yield in the defense of our freedom. Show the world that we will defeat the plague of cowardice sweeping through the Republican party.”

Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, had been a leading Republican voice for years. But she parted with many of her colleagues over Trump’s false claims of voting fraud and her position as vice chair of the Congressional committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

On Friday, the Supreme Court said it will decide whether Trump can be kept off ballots because of his role in the attack. Cheney said she agrees with those who believe he should be disqualified under a provision of the 14th Amendment barring some people who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office.

“This is a process that will go through the courts and we’ll see how that unfolds. But here’s no question in my mind that his actions clearly constituted an offense that is within the language of the 14th Amendment,” she said. “There’s not a requirement that you be convicted in the Senate or in a court of law, and so I believe in the plain language of the constitution.”

Cheney, who was soundly defeated in her 2022 primary, said she disagrees with many of President Joe Biden’s policies but said conservative Republicans should recognize “The threat posed by Donald Trump and the threat posed by Joe Biden are not even remotely similar.”

“Our nation can survive and recover from policy mistakes. We cannot recover from a president willing to torch the Constitution,” she said.

As for her political future, Cheney demurred when asked if she is planning a third-party run for president.

“I’m going to do whatever the most effective thing is to ensure that Donald Trump is not elected,” she said. “I’ll make a decision about what that is in the coming months as we see what happens in the Republican primaries.”