Liz Cheney Says Republicans 'Minimizing the Danger' of Jan. 6 Is 'How Democracies Die'

Representative Liz Cheney on Thursday called out fellow GOP lawmakers for "minimizing" the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, warning "that's how democracies die."

One year ago, hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump violently assaulted the federal building in an apparent effort to disrupt the formal certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Cheney was the first Republican lawmaker to back Trump's second impeachment in the wake of the attack, which has put her starkly at odds with the majority of GOP lawmakers.

"It's very important, if you look at what's happening today in my party, the Republican Party," Cheney said in a Today show interview.

"Rather than reject what happened on [January] 6th, reject the lies about the election and make clear that a president who engaged in those activities can never be president again, unfortunately too many in my own party are embracing that former president, are looking the other way, are minimizing the danger," she said.

Liz Cheney
Speaking of the January 6 Capitol riot and her GOP colleagues, Representative Liz Cheney said on Thursday that "anyone who denies the truth of what happened, they ought to be ashamed of themselves." Above, Cheney speaks on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2021. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

"That's how democracies die, and we simply cannot let that happen," the Wyoming Republican warned.

In September of last year, Cheney was named the vice chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack.

She warned in the Today interview that the "threat" from Trump "continues." She also pointed out that the former president "continues to make the same claims that he knows caused violence on January 6."

Cheney said that her GOP colleagues who "minimize what happened, anyone who denies the truth of what happened, they ought to be ashamed of themselves." She also asserted that "history is watching, and history will judge them."

Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol a year ago were largely driven by the former president's baseless claims that the 2020 election was "rigged" or "stolen" in Biden's favor. At a rally near the White House before the assault, Trump urged his supporters to "fight like hell" and to march to the federal building, where Congress was meeting to formally certify Biden's win.

Cheney condemned Trump in the wake of the attack and became the first Republican representative to announce her intention to join the Democrats' impeachment effort against the former president. "There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," the congresswoman said in a scathing statement at the time.

Because of that decision, as well as her involvement with the House select committee investigating the attack, Cheney has faced substantial backlash from fellow Republicans and Trump. The congresswoman was ousted in May 2021 from her No. 3 leadership role in the House GOP Conference and is facing a Trump-endorsed Republican challenger in the 2022 Republican primary for her Wyoming congressional seat. Many pro-Trump Republican lawmakers also want Cheney formally removed from their House caucus altogether.

Newsweek reached out to Trump's press office for comment but did not hear back before publication.