Liz Cheney Invokes Lincoln and Grant in Impassioned Concession Speech
It had been just two years since Rep. Liz Cheney won a primary with 73 percent of the vote — a point she reminded supporters of in her concession speech Tuesday night in Wyoming.
“I could have easily done the same thing again,” she said. “The way was clear. But it would have required me to agree to President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. It would have required me to facilitate his continued efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the very foundations of our republic.”
“That was a road I couldn’t and wouldn’t take.”
The path Mrs. Cheney took instead resulted in her being ousted as Speaker of the House Republican Conference, her party’s third-highest leadership role in the House, and installed as Vice Chair of the Congressional Committee. investigating the January 6, 2021 attack. on the Capitol.
From a podium overlooking a field in Teton County, Wyo., with mountains as a backdrop, she said she called Ms. Hageman to admit her loss in free and fair elections. She suggested that her job now, and that of patriotic Americans, was to stand up for the Constitution.
Like the comments she made during the Jan. 6 committee hearings, it was a speech that seemed aimed not just at Republican voters, but at a wider national audience.
This was evident from her paraphrase of a quote made popular by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “It has been said that the long arc of history bends towards justice and liberty. That’s true, but only if we let it bend” — and even more so a few minutes later, when she turned her attention to the Civil War.
In the spring of 1864, after the Union suffered more than 17,000 casualties in the Battle of the Wilderness, General Ulysses S. Grant had a choice, Mrs. Cheney said: retreat or keep fighting.
“While the battle fires were still smoldering, Grant rode to the head of the column,” she said. “He drove to the intersection of Brock Road and Orange Plank Road. And there, as the men of his army watched and waited, instead of turning north, back to Washington and safety, Grant turned his horse south toward Richmond and the heart of Lee’s army. He refused to back down and went on to win.”
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General Grant, President Abraham Lincoln “and all who fought in our country’s tragic civil war, including my own great-great-grandfathers, saved our union,” said Ms. Cheney. “Their courage has saved freedom, and if we listen closely, they will speak to us for generations. We must not waste in vain what so many have fought and died for.”
In a time-honored tradition of political candidates, Ms. Cheney described meeting two voters who, she said, had approached her to say exactly what she wanted to say.
One, she said, was a man from Brazil who told her, “I know how fragile freedom is, and we can’t lose it here.” The other was a woman in Jackson, Wyo., whose grandparents survived Auschwitz and who “was afraid she had nowhere to go if freedom died here.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, freedom must, cannot and will not die here,” said Ms. Cheney, before urging her supporters to join her in following what she had envisioned as General Grant’s path.
“As we leave here, let’s decide that we will stand together – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – against those who want to destroy our republic,” she said. “They are angry and determined, but they have never seen anything like the power of Americans united in the defense of our Constitution and committed to the cause of liberty. There is no greater power on this earth, and with God’s help we shall be victorious.”