|Chair of the House Republican Conference|
January 3, 2019 – May 12, 2021
|Preceded by||Cathy McMorris Rodgers|
|Succeeded by||Elise Stefanik|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Wyoming's at-large district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||Cynthia Lummis|
Elizabeth Lynne Cheney
July 28, 1966
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Relatives||Mary Cheney (sister)|
|Education||Colorado College (BA)|
University of Chicago (JD)
Elizabeth Lynne Cheney (// CHAYN-ee; born July 28, 1966) is an American attorney and politician who has served as the U.S. Representative for Wyoming's at-large congressional district since 2017. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in the George W. Bush administration and was the Chair of the House Republican Conference, the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership, from 2019 to 2021.
Cheney is the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney. She held several positions in the U.S. State Department during the George W. Bush administration, notably as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives. She promoted regime change in Iran while chairing the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group with Elliott Abrams. In 2009 Cheney and Bill Kristol founded Keep America Safe, a nonprofit organization concerned with national security issues that advocated the positions of the former Bush administration. She was a candidate for the 2014 election to the U.S. Senate in Wyoming, challenging three-term incumbent Mike Enzi, before withdrawing from the race. In the House of Representatives, she holds the seat her father held for a decade, representing Wyoming from 1979 to 1989.
Regarded as a leading ideological conservative in the Bush–Cheney-era tradition and a representative of the Republican establishment, Cheney is a neoconservative, known for her focus on national security, her support for the U.S. military, a pro-business stance, foreign policy views, and for being fiscally and socially conservative. Cheney is considered one of the leaders of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party and was critical of the foreign policy of the Donald Trump administration while simultaneously voting steadfastly in support of its overall agenda.
She orchestrated the op-ed by all living U.S. defense secretaries calling on the military not to interfere in the peaceful transfer of power in 2021. She later supported the second impeachment of Donald Trump for his role in the 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol. Because of her stance on the Capitol riot, her impeachment vote and opposition to Trump's false stolen-election narrative, pro-Trump Freedom Caucus members of the House Republican Conference attempted to remove her from party leadership in February 2021. That effort failed, and Cheney remained conference chair until mid-May, when pro-Trump members of the House again pushed for her removal. With House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy supporting the effort, Cheney was removed from her position. Cheney has said that she intends to be "the leader, one of the leaders, in a fight to help to restore our party" and that she may be interested in a future presidential run. In June 2021 she joined the board of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation.
Elizabeth Lynne Cheney was born on July 28, 1966, in Madison, Wisconsin, the elder of two daughters of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Second Lady Lynne Cheney (née Vincent). At the time of her birth, her parents were studying at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her younger sister, Mary Cheney, was also born in Madison. Cheney attended part of sixth and seventh grade in Casper, Wyoming, while her father campaigned for Congress. The family divided its time between Casper and Washington, D.C. in the 1970s through the 1980s, following her father's election to Congress. In 1984 Cheney graduated from McLean High School, where she was a cheerleader. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado College, her mother's alma mater, where she wrote her senior thesis, "The Evolution of Presidential War Powers". She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School in 1996. While there, she also took courses in Middle Eastern history at the Oriental Institute.
Before attending law school, Cheney worked for the State Department for five years and the United States Agency for International Development between 1989 and 1993. After 1993, she took a job at Armitage Associates LLP, the consulting firm founded by Richard Armitage, then a former Defense Department official and Iran-Contra operative who later served as Deputy Secretary of State.
After graduating from law school, Cheney practiced law at the law firm of White & Case and as an international law attorney and consultant at the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. She has also served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State for Assistance to the former Soviet Union, and as a USAID officer in U.S. embassies in Budapest and Warsaw.
In 2002, Cheney was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, a preexisting vacant post with an "economic portfolio", a mandate to promote investment in the region. Amid reports, including a New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman, that the job was created especially for her, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that she had come recommended by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Sunday Times reported that Cheney's appointment was "the most intriguing sign that America is getting serious about Middle East reform" and "a measure of the seriousness with which the administration was taking Middle East programmes for literacy, education, and reform". The appointment followed publicized policy divisions between the Vice President's office and the State Department on Middle East policy. In that position, she was given control of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, designed to "foster increased democracy and economic progress in a troubled region". The program spent $29 million in 2002, increased to $129 million in the following year. Cheney's task was to channel money to prescreened groups, some of which were not identified publicly for fear of retaliations from extant governments they sought to undermine. For the budget year 2004, the project sought $145 million.
After two years of service, Cheney left her State Department post in 2003 to serve in her father's 2004 reelection campaign. She participated in the campaign's "W Stands for Women" initiative to target female voters.
On February 14, 2005, she returned to the U.S. State Department and was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State For Near Eastern Affairs and Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives. In this position, Cheney supported the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, C. David Welch, and coordinated multilateral efforts to promote and support democracy and expand education and economic opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. Cheney oversaw the launch of two semi-independent foundations, the Fund of the Future (worth $100 million), to provide capital for small businesses, and the Foundation of the Future (worth $55 million), to promote freedom of the press and democracy. In that capacity, Cheney endorsed a draft of a new Iraqi constitution.
In April 2006, The New York Times published a story that was critical of Cheney's work, particularly with respect to Iran. The International Republican Institute, a grants program administered by Cheney's unit in collaboration with a Republican-affiliated foundation, received particular scrutiny. The Times maintained that when the group became controversial, with critics saying that it was plotting covert actions that could escalate into war with Iran and Syria, the group was disbanded, by May 2006. Shortly before the ISOG group was dissolved, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice initiated a major effort to engage Iran and Syria in efforts to stabilize Iraq. As late as April 11, 2009, Iranian officials investigating "cyber-crimes" cited Cheney's efforts in the daily newspaper Iran, specifically the "Democracy Program" [sic], as parallel to a Netherlands-funded push for a "velvet revolution" accomplished by a media campaign to polarize the country, "despite the 1981 Algiers Accords signed between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of the U.S. embassy takeover in Tehran".
In June 2007 Cheney signed on as one of three national co-chairs of Fred Thompson's 2008 presidential campaign. The others were Spencer Abraham and George Allen. In a press release issued at the beginning of his campaign, Thompson said he was "very pleased to announce that former Senators Abraham and Allen, as well as Liz Cheney, will serve as co-chairs of my national leadership team". He added: "These distinguished individuals bring wise counsel and invaluable experience to my campaign leadership team, and they will play a critical role in helping spread my consistent conservative message across America." After Thompson dropped out of the race, Cheney announced on January 27, 2008, that she would work for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign as a senior foreign policy advisor.
In October 2009, Liz Cheney, William Kristol, and Deborah Burlingame launched, as board members, the nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization Keep America Safe. The group's stated purpose is to "provide information for concerned Americans about critical national security issues". It drew strong criticism from conservative lawyers, many of whom had worked for the Bush administration, after its campaign against "The Al Qaeda 7", seven Justice Department lawyers in the Obama administration who previously had worked as defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainees. Shortly after, all information about the organization disappeared from the Internet.
In January 2012, Cheney was hired as a contributor for Fox News. She guest-hosted programs such as Hannity and Fox News Sunday. The network terminated her contract in July 2013 after she announced her intention to mount a 2014 bid for the Senate in Wyoming.
On July 16, 2013, Cheney announced that she would run for the Senate in 2014 from Wyoming as a Republican, challenging incumbent Republican senator Mike Enzi. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said it would back Enzi, as was policy. Cheney was expected to receive strong fundraising, but faced concerns about the fact she moved to Wyoming in fall 2012. In the video announcing her candidacy, she noted that the Cheney family first came to Wyoming in 1852. Her father represented Wyoming in the House from 1979 to 1989.
In her first campaign appearance in Cheyenne after announcing her challenge to Enzi, Cheney said, "We have to not be afraid of being called obstructionists. Obstructing President Obama's policies and his agenda isn't actually obstruction; it's patriotism." Cheney claimed that Obama had "literally declared war" on the First and Second amendments to the United States Constitution as well as the interests of Wyoming ranchers and energy workers who faced regulations from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Cheney's campaign was marred by criticism from her championing of hawkish foreign policy positions to a public spat with her sister over her vocal opposition to same-sex marriage. Enzi's continuing popularity made it difficult for Cheney to make inroads with Wyoming Republicans. On January 6, 2014, Cheney announced her withdrawal from the race, citing family health issues.
After incumbent Cynthia Lummis announced her retirement in the fall of 2015, Cheney announced she was considering running for her seat in 2016. On February 1, 2016, Cheney announced her candidacy for Wyoming's House seat. She was widely considered the front-runner, and a poll commissioned by the Casper Star-Tribune and Wyoming PBS showed her leading in the Republican primary – the real contest in this heavily Republican state. Oil tycoon Simon Kukes contributed to her campaign. She was elected with over 60% of the vote.
In the November 6 general election, Cheney was reelected to the House with 127,951 votes, defeating Democrat Greg Hunter (59,898 votes), Libertarian Richard Brubaker (6,918) and Constitution Party candidate Daniel Clyde Cummings (6,069). Cheney won 21 of 23 counties, losing Albany and Teton Counties to Hunter. On November 14, the Republican membership elected Cheney chair of the House Republican Conference for the 116th Congress. In this post, she is the third-ranking Republican in the chamber, behind Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
Cheney defeated Blake Stanley in the Republican primary with 73% of the vote, and Democrat Lynnette Grey Bull in the general election with 69% of the vote.
On March 7, 2019, Cheney joined 22 Republican representatives in opposing HR183, which condemned "anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance" and "anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry". Critics of the bill cited a concern it was too broad, as it was initially meant to chastise comments made by Ilhan Omar, and her name and comments were removed from the bill.
In May 2019, Cheney said that Peter Strzok and another FBI agent who sent personal text messages where they disparaged various politicians (including Trump) sounded as if they were planning a "coup" and may be guilty of "treason".
In June 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared the holding centers for illegal immigrants at the Mexico–United States border to "concentration camps". Cheney strongly criticized her words, saying they showed "disrespect" for Holocaust victims.
Speaking as chairwoman at a House Republican Conference in August 2019, Cheney said that the successful litigation (Crow Tribe et al v. Zinke) by Native tribes and environmentalists to return the grizzly bear in Greater Yellowstone to the Endangered Species Act "was not based on science or facts" but motivated by plaintiffs' "intent on destroying our Western way of life". Her statements drew comments from indigenous tribal nations and environmentalists. Tribal nations hold the grizzly to be sacred and they and environmentalists have voiced concerns about trophy hunts, livestock and logging interests, and the gas, coal, and oil extraction industries.
Cheney condemned the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria, which was made possible by Trump's decision to withdraw US military forces that served as a buffer between Turkey and the Kurdish areas in Syria, saying, "The U.S. is abandoning our ally the Kurds, who fought ISIS on the ground and helped protect the U.S. homeland. This decision aids America’s adversaries, Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and paves the way for a resurgence of ISIS." Cheney partly blamed the Democratic Party and the impeachment inquiry into Trump for Turkey's actions, saying, "It was not an accident that the Turks chose this moment to roll across the border." A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Cheney's claim about the impact of U.S. presidential impeachment proceedings on the invasion "delusional".
At a House Republican Conference in July 2020, some Republicans, such as Jim Jordan of Ohio and Andy Biggs of Arizona, criticized Cheney for defending Dr. Fauci amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and for previously endorsing Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie's primary opponent.
Cheney expressed support for Israeli plans to annex parts of Palestinian territory in the occupied West Bank. She signed a letter addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that reaffirms "the unshakeable alliance between the United States and Israel".
In September 2020, Cheney asked the Justice Department to investigate environmental groups such as the NRDC, Sea Change and the Sierra Club, saying that "robust political and judicial activism – combined with the fact that these groups often espouse views that align with those of our adversaries – makes it all the more critical that the Department is aware of any potential foreign influence within or targeting these groups. I urge the Department to investigate Chinese and Russian attempts to influence environmental and energy policy in the United States".
Beginning during his time as a Dublin, California city councilman, Eric Swalwell was targeted by a Chinese woman believed to be a clandestine officer of China's Ministry of State Security. Swalwell's general relationship with a suspected Chinese agent has been characterized as problematic, particularly given his high-profile role as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Cheney signed a letter demanding Swalwell's removal from the House Intelligence Committee. She also said, "the extent to which [the Chinese Communist Party] caused [COVID-19] to be spread around the world has really shone a spotlight on the nature of that regime, and has really focused the attention of not just people in the United States but our allies around the world on the threat that they pose and how important it is we protect ourselves by moving supply chains, by ending our dependence on the Chinese government".
From 2017 to 2021, Cheney voted in line with Trump's position 92.9% of the time, supporting him more consistently in House votes than even his former chief of staff Mark Meadows. In 2019, according to the New York Times, Cheney publicly feuded with Rand Paul over who was "Trumpier". According to The Atlantic, she was a "loyal Trumpist" and helped build "the party of Trump".
The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.— Liz Cheney
On January 12, 2021, following the storming of the United States Capitol during the certification process for President-elect Joe Biden, Cheney announced she would vote to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the storming. At a rally just before the storming, Trump told the mob of insurrectionists to "get rid of" Cheney, and the mob then attacked the Capitol while chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" and trying to find lawmakers. Cheney said that Trump "lit the flame" of the riot and did nothing to stop it. Saying "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath", she announced her support for impeachment. Nine other Republicans joined her in doing so on January 13. She was then the third-ranking Republican in the House. Jim Jordan (one of 139 House members, and 8 senators, who voted for—or supported—the objections to the Electoral College count) called for her removal from Republican Party leadership.
Former President George W. Bush's spokesman said on January 30 that Bush supported Cheney's actions and intended to call his former vice president, Dick Cheney, to "thank him for his daughter's service". Days later, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said, "Liz Cheney is a leader with deep convictions and the courage to act on them. She is an important leader in our party and in our nation. I am grateful for her service and look forward to continuing to work with her on the crucial issues facing our nation". McConnell also condemned Trump supporters' "loony lies". Senator Lindsey Graham said Cheney "is one of the strongest and most reliable conservative voices in the Republican Party. She is a fiscal and social conservative, and no one works harder to ensure that our military is well prepared".
Trump supporters were angered by Cheney's vote to impeach, and on February 3, 2021, the House Republican Conference held a closed-door, secret-ballot vote on whether to remove her from her position in the Republican House leadership. She held her position by a 145–61 vote, with one member voting present. After the vote, Cheney said, "we’re not going to be divided and that we’re not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership". On February 6, the Wyoming Republican Party censured Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump. Cheney responded, "My vote to impeach was compelled by the oath I swore to the Constitution. Wyoming citizens know that this oath does not bend or yield to politics or partisanship. I will always fight for Wyoming values and stand up for our Western way of life." She rejected the Wyoming party's demands that she step down, and noted the censure incorrectly asserted that the January 6, 2021 storming of the United States Capitol was instigated by Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Cheney raised the possibility of a criminal investigation of Trump for provoking violence and on multiple occasions has said Trump "does not have a role as a leader of our party going forward". In April 2021, she said she would not vote for him if he were the Republican nominee for president in 2024. In May 2021, she said, "I will do everything I can to ensure that [Trump] never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office" and "we cannot let the former president drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy."
In his first speech since the storming of the Capitol, Trump attacked the Bush administration for launching the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and described Liz Cheney as a "warmonger" and "a person that loves seeing our troops fighting" for her support for the Bush administration's foreign policy.
In March 2021 former Republican speaker Paul Ryan announced his support for Cheney. Salon wrote that although Cheney is "arch-conservative", she is "now considered too liberal for some GOP extremists".
In response to rising calls from pro-Trump factions in the Republican Party for her to be removed from her position as House Republican Conference chair, Cheney wrote an opinion article, "The GOP is at a turning point. History is watching us", published in The Washington Post on May 5, 2021. In it, she reiterated her positions on adhering to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, upholding the law, and defending "the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process". Senator Joni Ernst criticized the GOP's efforts to remove Cheney from party leadership, comparing it to cancel culture.
On the eve of a House Republican vote to remove her, Cheney made an address on the House floor after her colleagues had left the chamber, saying in part:
Today we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence. Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words, but not the truth, as he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all. I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law. The Electoral College has voted. More than sixty state and federal courts, including multiple judges he appointed, have rejected the former president's claims. The Department of Justice in his administration investigated the former president's claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them. The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution.
Cheney was formally recalled by voice vote at a closed-door House Republican Conference meeting on May 12, 2021. Five GOP representatives requested a recorded vote, but McCarthy chose to decide the matter by voice vote. As it was a voice vote conducted behind closed doors, it was unclear which lawmakers supported her ouster.
In May 2021, Cheney said that she intends to be "the leader, one of the leaders, in a fight to help to restore our party". An interview on ABC News’ This Week in which she refused to rule out a presidential bid prompted media speculation about her interest in a presidential run in 2024.
Cheney has described herself as a conservative Republican. Lawrence R. Jacobs has said, "Cheney is an arch-conservative. She’s a hard-edged, small government, lower taxes figure and a leading voice on national defense." Jake Bernstein argued that "Liz Cheney is a true conservative in every sense of the word and she’s only a moderate in relation to the radicalism that has seized the Republican party."
The Brookings Institution argued that Cheney has a long-term strategy to become the leader of the Republican Party in the post-Trump era, and that "she’s a real conservative—Democrats who like her opposition to Trump will never like her politics."
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2021)
Cheney is a neoconservative who rejects America First foreign policy. When working in the United States Department of State as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, she supported the Iraq War, as promoted by her father, Dick Cheney. She opposes proposals to bring American troops home from Afghanistan.
Cheney was one of 35 Republicans who joined all Democrats in voting to approve legislation to establish the January 6, 2021 commission meant to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol. Before the vote, she was one of few Republican lawmakers who openly expressed support for the commission.
In 2013, Cheney announced her opposition to same-sex marriage.
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (May 2021)
According to Mother Jones, Cheney insists "that one of the main lies of the Bush-Cheney fraudulent case for war—that there had been a significant connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq—was true." Maureen Dowd has commented that Cheney used "her patronage perch in the State Department during the Bush-Cheney years ... [and] bolstered her father’s trumped-up case for an invasion of Iraq" while cheering "on her dad as he spread fear, propaganda and warped intelligence".
Bud Goodall has called Cheney a "conspiracy propagandist". She has defended proponents of Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories. According to Mother Jones, the Obama citizenship conspiracy theory was an "odious lie that Liz Cheney also defended".
Cheney has been accused of being a carpetbagger, with little connection to Wyoming, where she lived only a few years as a child before purchasing a home there in 2012. When she launched her 2014 Senate campaign, she did it with a Facebook post geotagged to McLean, Virginia, her primary residence at the time. During that campaign, The New Republic columnist Jon Ward wrote, "she talked up her Wyoming roots and dressed in boots. But when I chatted with her at one stop, her jeans were so new that her hands were stained blue from touching them."
Cheney's relationship with her younger sister Mary publicly suffered after Liz stated in her 2014 Senate campaign that she did not support same-sex marriage. Mary denounced her sister's remarks, writing in a Facebook post, "Either [y]ou think all families should be treated equally or you don't. Liz's position is to treat my family as second class citizens." Mary's wife Heather Poe wrote in a Facebook post, "Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 – she didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least." Mary said she would not support her sister's candidacy, and in 2015 refused to say whether she and her sister had mended their relationship.
|Republican||Jason Adam Senteney||976||1.11|
|Constitution||Daniel Clyde Cummings||10,362||4.12|
|Libertarian||Lawrence Gerard Struempf||9,033||3.59|
|Republican||Liz Cheney (incumbent)||75,183||67.72|
|Republican||Blake E Stanley||13,307||11.99|
|Republican||Liz Cheney (incumbent)||127,963||63.59|
|Constitution||Daniel Clyde Cummings||6,070||3.02|
|Republican||Liz Cheney (incumbent)||78,870||73.46%|
|Republican||Liz Cheney (incumbent)||185,732||68.56%|
|Democratic||Lynnette Grey Bull||66,576||24.58%|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liz Cheney.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Liz Cheney|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
Elizabeth Lynne Cheney
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district
|Party political offices|
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
| Chair of the House Republican Conference
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States representatives by seniority
|115th||Senate: M. Enzi • J. Barrasso •||House: L. Cheney|
|116th||Senate: M. Enzi • J. Barrasso •||House: L. Cheney|
|117th||Senate: J. Barrasso • C. Lummis||House: L. Cheney|
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