WASHINGTON — Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., on Thursday told former President Donald Trump to “bring it” after he announced his support for her Republican primary challenger.
Cheney has been the most prominent Republican to criticize Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and vote to impeach him. In response, Trump has vowed to work to get her voted out of office.
Trump said in a statement Thursday that he is endorsing Harriet Hageman, who is running against Cheney, calling the incumbent a “warmonger and a disloyal Republican.”
“Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First,” Trump said, adding that Hageman has his endorsement in “replacing the Democrats number one provider of sound bites, Liz Cheney.”
In a quick reply, Cheney tweeted, “Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it.”
Trump and Cheney have been been in a public battle since January and she has said she would work to ensure he isn’t elected if he runs for president in 2024. She was ousted by House Republicans from a caucus leadership post.
Cheney’s plans to run for re-election in 2022 distinguish her from fellow Republican critics of Trump, like the former Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, who chose to retire rather than fight an uphill battle to keep their seats.
The contest will test Trump’s clout and serve as a proxy battle over whether there is still room in the party for opponents of the former president, who retains broad and intense support among self-identified Republicans despite his defeat in 2020. He has backed challengers to numerous GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach him.
In a statement, Cheney said she was proud of her conservative record and looks forward to a public debate about elected officials upholding their oath to the constitution. Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and also served in the George W. Bush administration.
“It is tragic that some in this race have sacrificed those principles, and their duty to the people of Wyoming, out of fear and in favor of loyalty to a former president who deliberately misled the American people about the 2020 elections, provoked an attack on the U.S. Capitol, and failed to perform his duties as president as the violence ensued,” Cheney said.
During his four years in office, Cheney voted with Trump 92.9 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. Her previously unassailable standing in party leadership faded this year after she persistently spoke out to debunk his “big lie” that the election was stolen. She has described Trump’s rhetoric as a threat to democracy.
Trump said Sen. Cynthia M. Lummis, R-Wyo., also backs Hageman over Cheney. However, a statement from Lummis’ office said she is not currently endorsing anybody in the race.
“While Sen. Lummis is not making an endorsement at this time, she believes President Trump has made an inspired choice in backing Harriet Hageman,” Lummis’ spokesman Darin Miller said.