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In ND talk, Cheney says Trump ongoing threat to U.S.; urges people to not vote for election deniers

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) speaks during an Oct. 14 lecture at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) speaks during an Oct. 14 lecture at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government.

In a Friday lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) called former president Donald Trump an ongoing and real threat to America and urged people to not vote for candidates this November who say the 2020 election was stolen.

Cheney spoke one day after the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol held its ninth hearing. She’s the vice chair of that committee — one of its two Republican members — and voted to subpoena Trump Thursday along with the rest of the committee.

In her Friday lecture, which was hosted by Notre Dame’s Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government, Cheney said the peaceful transfer of power is the “fundamental fabric” of American democracy. But she said that’s now at risk.

“Will we commit ourselves to our constitution, and will we commit ourselves to honor the outcome of our elections, even when we lose?” Cheney said. “As Americans, we must be able across party lines to stand up and say violence has no part in the political disagreements of this nation. It must never.”

Cheney said Trump poses an ongoing and real threat to America.

“This isn’t about politics,” Cheney said. “Trump was the one person who could tell the mob to stop. He was the one person who could get people to go home, and he watched for hours and refused to do so. And I want you to think about what kind of human being does that.”

And she said he and everyone responsible for Jan. 6 needs to be held accountable.

“If we don’t do that, then the indefensible conduct becomes defensible.” Cheney said. “If elected officials excuse or ignore what happened, then that inexcusable conduct becomes excusable — and it will happen election, after election, after election.”

Cheney lost her August primary to a Trump-endorsed candidate in a landslide, getting just under 29 percent of the vote. But she said defending the republic is more important than the outcome of any race.

“We have to pull back from the abyss,” Cheney said. “One of the dangers that we’ve seen since Jan. 6 is that too few elected officials have been willing to put the constitution and fidelity to the constitution ahead of re-election.”

And she urged Americans to only vote for “responsible” candidates this November.

“If the Republicans have nominated somebody who is an election denier or who you can’t count on to abide by their oath, then you shouldn’t vote for that person,” Cheney said. “You ought to write somebody in or you ought to vote for the Democrat, but you shouldn’t vote for the election denier.”

Cheney will be leaving congress after her term ends in 2023. In response to a question from a student asking if she’ll run for president, she called the 2024 election “really important” but said she hasn’t yet made a decision as to what she’s going to do.

Contact Jakob at or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.