Trump labels Cheney’s GOP primary in Wyoming as ‘referendum’ on January 6

Donald Trump joined most mainstream political observers on Tuesday and declared Wyoming representative Liz Cheney’s Republican primary race a “big deal.”

The former president said the contest, in which Ms Cheney faces off against opponent Harriet Hageman, is a “referendum” on the US Capitol riots on January 6, and Ms Cheney’s attempts to investigate them as vice-chair of the January 6 select committee in Congress.

“If Liz Cheney loses tonight, the Fake News Media will do everything within their power to play it down and pretend that it was not a referendum on the Unselects. That it was no big deal,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Tuesday. “Actually, it would be a very big deal, one of the biggest!”

The polls in the Wyoming race close at 9pm ET on Tuesday, and survey data shows Ms Cheney facing a massive defeat, potentially losing by as much as 20 per cent.

Ms Cheney’s GOP colleagues in the House haven’t exactly been rooting for her either.

“I don’t think that she’s going to win,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be a referendum on the January 6 Committee.”

The Wyoming incumbent is one of two Republicans on the January 6 committee, and part of just as small a group of GOP members willing to publicly criticise party standardbearer Donald Trump. She was also one of 10 Republican House lawmakers who voted to impeach Mr Trump for his actions that led to the 6 January US Capitol riots.

This has caused friction between her and the national and state wings of the Republican party.

In February of 2021, the Wyoming GOP voted to formally censure the congresswoman, arguing that the “voice of the people” demanded it.

A year later, the Republican National Committee took the same step against Representative Cheney and Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger, the only other Republican on the January 6 probe.

“The Conference must not be sabotaged by Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who have demonstrated, with actions and words, that they support Democrat efforts to destroy President Trump more than they support winning back a Republican majority in 2022,” the RNC’s resolution read.

For her part, Liz Cheney said she’s willing to criticise the former president’s attacks on the electoral process, even if it means losing her seat.

“If the cost of standing up for the Constitution is losing the House seat, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay,” she told The New York Times this month.