Former congresswoman Liz Cheney called out her Republican colleagues in a commencement speech on Sunday, accusing them of urging her to tell lies following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Cheney, addressing graduates of Colorado College, said: “After the 2020 election and the attack of January 6th, my fellow Republicans wanted me to lie. They wanted me to say that the 2020 election was stolen, that the attack of January 6th wasn’t a big deal, and that Donald Trump wasn’t dangerous.”
“I had to choose between lying and losing my position in House leadership,” the former Republican lawmaker, who graduated from Colorado College in 1988, said.
‘A love and reverence for freedom’
Cheney reflected on leading a prayer among her colleagues at the end of her role as chair of the House Republican Conference.
“As the House Republicans bowed our heads in the auditorium beneath the Capitol, I prayed that we would know a love and a reverence for freedom. I prayed that we would remember that democratic systems could fray and suddenly unravel and that when they do, they are gone forever,” she said.
Cheney served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, rising to the No. 3 GOP leadership position in the lower chamber on Congress. She voted to impeach former President Donald Trump following the Capitol riot and has been a vocal president of the former leader.
Cheers could be heard from the crowd during Cheney’s remarks, along with some boos.
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Cheney was also the vice chair of the now-dissolved House select committee investigating the Capitol attack. The committee in its final report claimed that Trump was the “central cause” behind the riot that sought to interrupt Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential election.
In 2022, Cheney lost a primary election to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman, who now represents Wyoming’s single House district.
Before Trump’s first town hall with CNN earlier this month, Cheney aired an attack ad against the former president targeting his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Contributing: Ken Tran, USA TODAY; Associated Press