Republican Liz Cheney, Third House Republican, said on Monday that anyone who says the 2020 presidential election was stolen is “poisoning our democratic system,” a direct response to former President Donald Trump.
“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” said Cheney, R-Wyo., And speaker of the House Republican Conference. Tweeter. “Anyone who claims this is the case is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their backs on the rule of law and poisoning our democratic system.”
A spokesperson for Cheney told NBC News that the congresswoman was responding to Trump’s statement earlier in the morning, in which he said: “The fraudulent presidential election of 2020 will, from this day forward, be known as THE BIG LIE! “
Cheney has refused to back down on his criticisms of Trump, despite mounting pressure from other Republicans. She was the highest ranking Republican to vote to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill and has disagreed with other members of the House GOP leadership for kissing Trump and maintaining her electoral demands since then. She repeatedly and forcefully rejected Trump’s stolen election lie.
The use of the “big lie” to describe Trump’s false narrative of a stolen election – a reference to a Nazi propaganda strategy – was popularized earlier this year. Shortly after a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from asserting President Joe Biden’s victory, the then-president-elect blamed Trump, as well as the senses Josh Hawley , R-Mo., And Ted Cruz, R- Texas, who both raised objections to the state’s certified vote totals, perpetuating “the big lie.”
In Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial, which began after the Democratic-controlled House accused him of one count of inciting insurgency, Democratic impeachment officials repeatedly referred to “the big lie” to describe Trump’s lingering electoral untruths.
“The Big Lie” refers to an idea perpetuated by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who said that if you repeat a lie enough, people will start to believe it.
Trump’s attempt to requisition the phrase to match his narrative on Monday, similar to his rebranding from “fake news” following the 2016 election, has been echoed by some conservatives. For example, Hawley referred to Biden’s “big lie about electoral integrity.”
As she emerged as Trump’s most powerful Republican critic in the House, an attempt in February to strip Cheney of his leadership position was overwhelmingly unsuccessful. That effort, led to Trump’s allies who sought to oust him after supporting impeachment, failed by a vote of 145 to 61.
The imbalanced vote was taken by secret ballot, indicating broad private support for Cheney inside the conference, though many were reluctant to speak out publicly for fear of stoking the ire of the former president.
Cheney’s position puts her at odds with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Who has tried to keep his conference aligned with the former president. After initially blaming Trump for the riot – although he voted hours after the attack to block the count of some electoral votes for Biden – McCarthy worked to get back into the good graces of the former president , including visiting Trump at his Mar-a-Lago. club in Florida.
During a GOP House retreat last week, which was hosted by Cheney, McCarthy declined to say whether she should remain a part of the House Republican leadership team.
“That’s a question for the conference,” McCarthy told reporters at the Orlando retreat, adding, “I think from a point of view, if you’re sitting here at a retreat focused on politics and focused on the future of American creation in the next century, and you’re talking about something else, you’re not productive. “
Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., And chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the House’s largest conservative caucus, told Axios on Friday that Cheney’s continued criticism of Trump is “an unwanted distraction”.
Sahil Kapur contributed.