ANALYSIS: Dick Cheney Told His Fellow Republicans a Hard Truth About January 6th

former vice president — and members of Congress — have long been an unattainable conservative. When he and President George W. Bush left office in early 2009, they were the conservatives that liberals loved to hate the most.

This all brings me to Thursday when Cheney offered his own scathing criticism of his own party and their collective responses to the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol.

It’s worth noting here—as a lot of Republicans would do—that Cheney’s daughter, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the leading (and only) voice within the Republican Party, urges the GOP to condemn both Jan. Then-President Donald Trump played a role in fueling the rebellion.

Joe, okay, okay. Cheney, like any parent, is probably somewhat protective of her daughter. But, at the same time, he did not have to come to the Congress to celebrate the anniversary of the 6 January attack. Nor did they have to talk to reporters—and tell them how they thought the GOP had gone astray.

He did so speaks volumes about his concern over the current leadership of the Republican Party – and his belief that a course correction is desperately needed.

He is right, of course. And, my guess is that many and many elected Republicans — leaders and rank and file — know this, but are too afraid to speak up because of Trump’s anger.

Consider what the top two Republicans in Congress said soon after the riots.

“Former President Trump’s actions prior to the riots were a shameful dereliction of duty,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor In the wake of Trump’s acquittal last February of an impeachment charge for his actions (and lack thereof) on January 6, “there is no question that President Trump is pragmatically and morally responsible for instigating the events of that day.” The people who stormed it. The building believed they were acting on the will and instructions of their president.”
A week after the Capitol riot, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was similarly blunt, “The president takes responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said. “When they saw what was happening, they should have immediately condemned the crowd. These facts require immediate action by President Trump.”
In the year since those comments, McConnell has gone silent about Trump, while McCarthy has returned to Trump’s good qualities. Trying to rewrite the history of 6th January — and Trump’s role in it. The party has generally followed suit, with some Republicans ready to stand with elected officials, saying Trump lost the election fair and square and there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Very few are willing to step out of line because a significant majority of the Republican base now believes the lie that the election was stolen from Trump.

Keeping quiet or even defending something you know is a lie is, literally, the exact opposite of what leadership looks like. Real leaders stand up for what they believe is right – even if their constituents don’t always agree. Because the leadership is not working together. It is putting oneself on the line when there is a need to stand up for the good of the country and do what really matters.

Cheney’s criticism of leaders of his own party goes directly to the question of leadership. And every Republican in Congress should stop doing what they’re doing and listen to him.