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Cheney cautions Jan. 6 riot could happen again

WASHINGTON — Rep. Liz Cheney, ousted from House Republican leadership for challenging former President Donald Trump, criticized GOP colleagues for downplaying the Jan. 6 riot and condoning Trump’s lies the 2020 election was stolen, saying they were “complicit” in undermining democracy.

In television interviews, the Wyoming Republican said there was “no question” an attack like Jan. 6 could happen again if Trump’s claims go unchecked.

“I think it’s dangerous,” Cheney said. “I think that we have to recognize how quickly things can unravel. We have to recognize what it means for the nation to have a former president who has not conceded and who continues to suggest that our electoral system cannot function, cannot do the will of the people.”

“We’ve seen not only his provocation of the attack, but his refusal to send help when it was needed, his refusal to immediately say, ‘Stop,'” she added.

Asked if she believes House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Rep. Elise Stefanik are complicit by embracing Trump, Cheney responded: “They are. I’m not willing to do that. We all have an obligation to stand up against that.”

Stefanik was elected Friday to the leadership post by House Republicans after they voted to remove Cheney on Wednesday. Stefanik has a moderate voting record but had strong backing from Trump and other party leaders. She described Republicans as now “unified” in their goal of beating Democrats, with Trump playing a key role in the GOP’s future success.

“He is the leader of the Republican Party,” Stefanik said. “Voters determine the leader of the Republican Party. And they continue to look to President Trump for his vision.”

Cheney called it indefensible that some GOP colleagues, such as Reps. Andrew Clyde of Georgia and Louie Gohmert of Texas, suggested last week that the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6 posed no real threat, with Clyde likening it to a “normal tourist visit.”

“The notion that this was somehow a tourist event is disgraceful and despicable,” Cheney said. “And, you know, I won’t be part of whitewashing what happened on Jan. 6. Nobody should be part of it. And people ought to be held accountable.”

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