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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Dick Cheney criticises Republican Party leadership, expressing concerns over the party’s dealing of Capitol riots

On the anniversary of the Capitol riots on Thursday, former Vice-President Dick Cheney has criticised the Republican Party over its leadership and its dealing of the the Capitol riots that occurred on January 6th, 2020.

Cheney came to Congress on the one year anniversary of the riots to commemorate the attacks, and spoke to reporters on his opinions of the Capitol attacks and his position on what the Republican Party currently stands for.

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Cheney said: “It’s not leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years. I’m deeply disappointed we don’t have better leadership in the Republican Party to restore the Constitution.”

The former Vice-President’s daughter – Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney – is the leading, and one of the only, voices within the Republican Party urging the GOP to condemn the events that occurred on January 6th 2020, and also the role former President Donald Trump played in the events which unfolded.

There is great concern within the Republican Party that many conservative politicians agree with Cheney’s outlook on the Capitol riots, and President’s Trump’s contribution to the events. However, a lot of these elected officials are concerned to speak out publicly, due to the potential of Donald Trump to run for office once again in 2024.

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Sen. Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the riots, saying: “Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty. There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President.”

Just one week after the Capitol riots, Rep. Kevin McCarthy gave a similar verdict, saying: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump.”

In the year since these leading Republicans made these comments, McConnell has gone silent on Donald Trump, while McCarthy has similarly stopped speaking about Trump and the January 6th riots. The majority of the Republican Party has generally followed suit, concerned about their positions over the possibility of Trump running once again in 2024, and being subject to a scathing attack and subsequently losing power.

The GOP leaders remained absent from the Capitol on Thursday, with the House out of session and a number of Republicans travelling to Georgia to attend the funeral of Sen. Johnny Isakson.

North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer said: “Obviously it’s the first anniversary, it can’t be ignored. I think it’s fine to commemorate it and remember it, and pledge to avoid it ever happening again.”

Cramer doesn’t stand with Republicans who claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, but expressed a stance which has prevented many in the GOP from criticising Trump’s role in the Capitol riots. Cramer said: “The Republican Party is successful with Donald Trump. He’s good for us, for the most part. And I think the Republican Party is good for Donald Trump. I don’t think the two can function well apart from one another.”

The GOP’s silent approach to the January 6th anniversary illustrates that Republicans are battling with expressing opinions about the Capitol riots, but also considering their own position within the GOP should Donald Trump run in 2024, considering Trump remains the most powerful force in the party.

The majority of Republicans are focusing on the next election, rather than relitigate 2020 and the events that occurred at the US Capitol.

IMAGE – Wikimedia Commons

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