A sizable crowd gathered at the state house in Cheyenne on Thursday – estimated around 300-strong by a local reporter – to call for Cheney’s ouster, frequently erupting into chants of “Go home Cheney!” and “USA!” Footage of the protest captured by videographer Brendan Gutenschwager has circulated online.
The third-ranking GOP rep in the House, Cheney has drawn the ire of much of the Republican base over her support for a Democrat-led drive to impeach Trump. Before he left office earlier this month, Cheney accused Trump of inciting the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, calling her vote in favor of impeachment an act of “conscience.”
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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz showed up at the rally to address the protesters, tossing red meat to the crowd while bashing the Wyoming legislator for her pro-war positions and ties to corporate interests.
“It’s time to have a change at the top. It’s time to have people that are going to start representing the people – not their own agendas, not their own nonsense, but their constituency,” he said.
At one point on stage, Gaetz called up Donald Trump Jr., allowing the son of the former president to briefly speak to the protesters. According to Politico’s Tara Palmeri, Gaetz said he had spoken to the elder Trump himself on Wednesday night, and that the ex-POTUS helped him craft his speech.
Gaetz took to Twitter later on Thursday to run a victory lap, cheering the “massive crowd” that “turned out to support my call to defeat Liz Cheney,” who is up for reelection in 2022.
According to a poll conducted by Trump’s own political outfit, Cheney faces staunch opposition in her home state, where 73 percent of Republican voters took a negative view toward the congresswoman. Only 10 percent of party members surveyed said they would vote for her in the next race, suggesting her vote for impeachment could carry steep costs.
Thursday’s event wasn’t without its counter protesters, though some appeared more interested in heckling Gaetz, rather than supporting Cheney, as one group was seen with a large banner reading “Florida fascist.”
Cheney – the daughter of disgraced ex-vice president Dick Cheney, who helped to launch the bloody 2003 invasion of Iraq – is not the only Republican facing backlash over their pro-impeachment votes. Nine others also supported the effort, which is still winding its way through the Senate. The fate of the initiative remains uncertain, however, as impeachment is typically reserved for sitting presidents. Over objections from many in the GOP, Democrats insist the process is constitutional and practical, aiming to bar Trump from ever serving in public office again.
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