August 18, 2022

With her conservative views and family ties, Liz Cheney was once a star in the Republican Party.

Today, she’s an outcast, a pariah. All because she dared to stand up to former President Donald Trump.

Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and a GOP congresswoman from Wyoming, is losing her seat. On Tuesday, she lost — and lost badly — her primary to an opponent endorsed by Trump and someone who backs Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin wrote, “Ms. Cheney’s loss was as anticipated as it was consequential.”

That’s because Cheney is leading the House select committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection, and has been an outspoken critic of Trump. She has said, “I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”

In her concession speech Tuesday night, Cheney said, “The path was clear. But it would have required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. It would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic.”

Critics in Wyoming insist that Cheney was too focused on Trump and not focused enough on the issues of Wyoming. Perhaps that is true, but it seems clear that it was opposition to Trump that did her in.

And conservative media rejoiced in her loss.

CNN’s Brian Stelter wrote, “Cheney was a punching bag and punchline all across GOP-aligned media as the primary results came in. Many right-wing commentators repeated the same points they had made for months: That Cheney’s condemnation of former president Donald Trump and her collaboration with Democrats on the House select committee investigating January 6 made her an enemy.”

Fox News’ primetime lineup of Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity all took their verbal jabs at Cheney on Tuesday night. (Stelter rightly points out that Hannity once endorsed Cheney, but that of course was long before Trump entered the political arena.)

You would have to think there’s a link between all the conservative media bashing of the Jan. 6 committee (led by Cheney) and Tuesday night’s result.

Trump, too, rejoiced in Cheney’s loss, saying it was a “wonderful result for America” and criticizing Cheney’s “spiteful, sanctimonious words.”

As The Associated Press’ Lisa Mascaro put it, Cheney is “the most high-profile political casualty yet as the party of Lincoln transforms into the party of Trump.”

For more on Tuesday’s primary, check out CNN’s Eric Bradner and Jeff Zeleny with “How Liz Cheney lost Wyoming’s lone seat in the House.”

What does Cheney’s loss reveal?

Of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in Jan. 6, only two remain for the November midterms. Some have retired, and some have lost their primary bids.

The New York Times’ Shane Goldmacher wrote, “No single defeat was as freighted with significance as Ms. Cheney’s, or as revealing of the party’s realignment.”

Goldmacher added that the result, “… may have only strengthened Mr. Trump’s hand as he asserts his grip over the Republican Party, by revealing the futility among Republican voters of even the most vigorous prosecution of the case against him.”

Goldmacher made a clever point. Cheney hoped Jan. 6 would be a turning point in the Republican Party. It turned out to be a dividing line.

He wrote, “Her loss was also the latest sign that the central organizing principles of today’s Republican Party are tethered less to specific policies — she was a reliable vote for much of the Trump agenda — than to whatever Mr. Trump wants at any given time.”

What’s next for Cheney?

Cheney appeared on Wednesday’s “Today” show and said she is considering another run for office. Not the Wyoming congressional seat she just lost, but the presidency. That’s right, Cheney told Savannah Guthrie she’s “thinking about” a White House run.

“I will be doing whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office,” Cheney said, adding she will make her decision in the “coming months.”

Cheney also told Guthrie, “I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very grave threat — a risk to our republic — and I think defeating him is going to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents and that’s what I intend to be a part of.”

About Cheney, New York Times Opinion writer Frank Bruni wrote, “Come January, she will no longer be Representative Cheney because she represents steadfast principle in an era with a devastating deficit of it. History will smile on her for that. It will remember the likes of McConnell and McCarthy for different, darker reasons. You tell me who’s the winner in this crowd.”

Now, to be clear, just because Cheney has pushed back against Trump over Jan. 6 doesn’t mean she’s a favorite of the left. As Bruni pointed out, Cheney praised the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and has voted along party lines way more often than not. There’s no mistaking: she’s a conservative.

“But,” Bruni wrote, “we know this much now: The losers on Tuesday night were the Republican Party, which needs her more than she needs it, and the United States, which needs rescue from its ruinous indulgence of Trump. Cheney has made that case as forcefully as anyone, holding on to the greatest prize of all: her dignity.

But back to this idea of being president. If she couldn’t even win the nomination of her own party in Wyoming, what makes her think she can become president?

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake wrote, “The idea that Cheney would have virtually any shot at winning a national Republican primary after such a loss in her home state is, on its face, laughable. And Cheney is shrewd enough to know that.”

Could it be that Cheney will make a run just to pester and stop Trump?

Blake wrote, “Put simply, there’s arguably nobody more studied in making the case against Trump than Cheney, and she might decide that’s her role to play in 2024 — to air all of this very publicly on the biggest political stage possible. Even if it doesn’t prevent Trump from winning the 2024 GOP nomination, it could matter for the general election.”

So, you didn’t like it?

Jared Kushner, former White House senior adviser, during a video interview with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. (House Select Committee via AP)

Jared Kushner — the son-in-law and adviser in former President Donald Trump’s White House — has a new book out called “Breaking History. A White House Memoir.”

New York Times book critic Dwight Garner has reviewed it. And let’s just say that if the review and Kushner’s book were a prize fight, the referee would have stopped the fight because Kushner’s book was taking too many heavy punches.

The headline alone — “Jared Kushner’s ‘Breaking History’ Is a Soulless and Very Selective Memoir” — shows that Garner was just getting started.

It just might be the most devastatingly critical book review I’ve ever read. I’d quote passages to give you an idea, but I don’t want to reveal too much to ruin it for you. But I will say you can’t help but giggle a little when Garner says Kushner looks like a mannequin and writes like one, too.

But like I said, I don’t want to give too much away.

OK, so I’ll give you one section. Garner writes, “This book is like a tour of a once majestic 18th-century wooden house, now burned to its foundations, that focuses solely on, and rejoices in, what’s left amid the ashes: the two singed bathtubs, the gravel driveway and the mailbox. Kushner’s fealty to Trump remains absolute. Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo.”

Oh, alright, one more fun sentence: “What a queasy-making book to have in your hands.”

It’s a fun read — the review, not the book.

Media tidbits

Must read of the day

No one covers the impact of gun violence on children better than The Washington Post’s John Woodrow Cox. His latest is haunting and heart-wrenching: “Hundreds of kids witness parents shot to death. This is what it does to them.”

Cox writes that in a first-of-its-kind analysis, the Post found that between 2016 and 2020, more than 2,400 children in Chicago lost a parent to gun homicides. Cox writes, “On average over that five-year period, the city’s pervasive gun violence stripped nearly 10 children of a parent every week. Almost all were Black or Hispanic.”

Cox goes on to write, “But dozens of them didn’t just face the death of the person they loved and depended on most in the world. They watched it happen — an experience that researchers have found can do more psychological damage to children than if they were shot themselves.”

This is not an easy story to read, but it’s too important to not read.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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