Republican former Rep. Liz Cheney appeared for an interview on Monday’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” promoting the release of her new book. Despite her continued conservatism, Cheney used the opportunity to lay out why she believes opposing Donald Trump in 2024 remains vital.
She called the prospect of Speaker Mike Johnson still maintaining control of the House of Representatives following the 2024 election “terrifying.”
“I say that with no pleasure. It pains me that that’s where we are,” Cheney said.
She noted that she’d been friends with Johnson.
“We were elected the same year, our offices were next door to each other, and I believed Mike to be a man of principle,” Cheney added.
But that belief didn’t last.
“What I learned was he was willing to do things he knew to be wrong in order to placate Donald Trump,” Cheney continued. “And again, a situation where you have a Speaker of the House, who … so clearly set aside what he knew to be the facts, what he knew to be the law, what he knew to be our obligations under the Constitution in order to try to help Donald Trump in his efforts in 2020.”
Cheney pointed to what could happen with Johnson in control of the House in a situation where Trump comes close to the White House once again.
“We cannot count on a majority of Republicans, on someone like that, to do the right thing — to uphold the Constitution, if, for example, we have an election that was thrown into the House, if nobody got 270 electoral votes,” Cheney said. “So it’s really serious.”
The conservative shuddered when asked for her take on what life would be like under a second Trump presidency.
“I don’t even want to imagine a situation where he has won,” Cheney said. “I think we have to do everything we can to stop him … working in a very nonpartisan fashion.”
She related a personal story about something she recognized while having dinner with her family.
“I looked at my sons across the dinner table, and I had this realization: I grew up in a country where I didn’t have to wonder if we were going to have a peaceful transfer of power in the United States, and all of the sudden it occurred to me, my god, maybe they won’t be able to say the same thing.”
She continued, “And that is why it is so fundamentally important that we ensure — Democrats, independents, Republicans — that we work together, we vote together, we make clear that Donald Trump is not an acceptable alternative.
“He is not the lesser of two evils,” Cheney added. “He is a completely unfit man for office. He’s already shown us what he would do, and he can never be near the Oval Office again.”
While Maddow invited former Cheney on her show, the host had no illusions about her guest’s politics.
“So here’s the thing about tonight’s show. I disagree with Liz Cheney about everything,” Maddow said to open Monday’s “Rachel Maddow Show.” “My whole adult life, on everything in politics, I would not just say that Liz Cheney and I were on different proverbial teams, I would say we were from different proverbial planets. And they are planets that are mostly at war with each other.”
Maddow went on to lay out her differences with Cheney, saying, “I am definitely a liberal, and she is definitely a hardcore conservative. … On the environment, on abortion rights, profoundly. I think she’s not just wrong on abortion, she is capital ‘W’ wrong on abortion in a terrible way. I disagree with her vehemently on voting rights, and on the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War, and our relationship or lack thereof with Iran, and our approach to terrorism, and torture, and guns, and, like, mining, and intellectual property, and the rules of the House of Representatives.”
Maddow continued, “Honestly, I once even got mad at Liz Cheney about fishing. And it’s the one thing you’d think we’d have in common, right?”
Cheney was voted out of her job in Republican leadership as she opposed Trump following the 2020 election, and it became clear that she was going to lose her seat. At the other end of the show, closing her interview with Cheney, Maddow asked her about her choice to be voted out rather than leaving office early, with the host arguing it would’ve made things easier for her.
“I don’t think it would have made it easier, because at the end of the day, the question really is, what’s more important here? And to me, there was no world in which you would say maintaining this House seat matters more than standing up for truth,” Cheney said. “And it became clear that, in order to stay in leadership, I was going to have to tell Donald Trump’s lies, and I wasn’t willing to do that.”
You can watch excerpts from Maddow’s interview with Cheney in the videos above. Liz Cheney’s book “Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning” is out now.