Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) primary defeat drew cheers from Fox News on Tuesday night, as the network’s propagandists denounced the congresswoman’s role as her party’s most prominent and vocal opponent of former President Donald Trump and his ongoing election subversion schemes.
On Tucker Carlson’s program, Cheney was “a disaster for America” and the host crowed that she was “going to lose, it looks like tonight, by a large margin because God does exist.” Sean Hannity praised the impending defeat of “the most obsessive Trump hater in the country.” And Laura Ingraham devoted most of her show to mocking “never Trumper hero” Cheney and applauding her loss. “Cheney speaks for a tiny number of rich people in the D.C. suburbs, that's about it. But now the Cowboy State will finally have someone who represents them, not someone who lectures them,” she concluded.
Until recently, Cheney had an unassailable resume for Republican politics. The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, she had stints at the State Department and as a right-wing think-tanker and Fox contributor before her election as Wyoming’s at-large representative in 2016. In her second term, her colleagues appointed her as chair of the House Republican Conference, the third-ranked position in the House Republican caucus. She supported Trump’s presidential bids in 2016 and 2020 and backed his agenda in the House.
But Cheney thinks it was bad for Trump to lie about massive Democratic voter fraud “rigging” his reelection defeat; to take steps to overturn the election and remain in power based on that pretext; to summon a violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in the furtherance of that plot; and to remake the GOP in explicit opposition to democratic principles. And what’s worse, she’s actually done something about it, voting to impeach Trump for his role on January 6 and serving as the vocal vice chair of the House select committee investigating that catastrophe.
In the modern GOP — and to the right-wing propagandists who support it — those are unforgivable sins.
Fox had put Cheney on its payroll and its hosts had helped launch her political career. But the network is both deeply indebted to Trump and directly implicated in the election subversion plot that Cheney opposed and sought to expose. And so, as its pro-Trump demagogues stood up an alternate narrative which posited that the former president’s supporters were the true victims of January 6, they had to tear her down.
Since she publicly turned on Trump, Cheney became a target for the GOP’s media allies at Fox; her Republican colleagues stripped her of her House leadership post and after Tuesday’s primary, she is on her way out of Congress.
Fox’s post-election quest to help Trump turn the GOP into an insurrectionist party continues unabated.