Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Monday ripped former President Trump’s recent remarks saying that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a “death wish,” calling the comments against McConnell and his wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, an “absolutely despicable, racist attack.”
Cheney, the vice chairwoman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, warned that Trump’s remarks could incite further violence.
“When you see former President Trump just in the last 24 hours suggesting in a pretty thinly veiled way, using words that that could well cause violence against the Republican leader of the Senate, saying he has a death wish and then, you know, launching an absolutely despicable, racist attack against Secretary Chao, Leader McConnell’s wife, and then you watch the fact that nobody in my party will say that’s unacceptable,” Cheney said during an event at Syracuse University.
“And everybody ought to be asked whether or not that’s acceptable, and everybody ought to be able to say no, that is not acceptable. They ought to be required to say that,” she added.
Chao headed the Transportation Department under Trump before resigning one day after the Jan. 6 attack. Prior to the Trump administration, she served as Labor Secretary for eight years under former President George W. Bush.
Trump continued his longtime feud with McConnell on Friday, criticizing the Senate GOP leader in a statement on the former president’s social media platform, Truth Social.
“Is McConnell approving all of these Trillions of Dollars worth of Democrat sponsored Bills, without even the slightest bit of negotiation, because he hates Donald J. Trump, and he knows I am strongly opposed to them, or is he doing it because he believes in the Fake and Highly Destructive Green New Deal, and is willing to take the Country down with him? In any event, either reason is unacceptable. He has a DEATH WISH,” Trump wrote.
“Must immediately seek help and advise from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!” he added.
The comments came soon after Congress approved a continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 16 and avert a shutdown. The stopgap bill passed with bipartisan support in the House and Senate, including a “yes” vote from McConnell.
In the House, however, GOP leadership urged Republican members to oppose the measure.
Cheney has become a leading GOP critic of Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, frequently taking on the former president and his claims that the election was stolen.
Her work on the Jan. 6 select committee has elevated that role, giving the Wyoming Republican a platform to oppose the ex-president.
After losing her Republican primary to a Trump-endorsed challenger this year, she will be leaving Congress in January.
But Cheney is not the only one to speak out against Trump’s latest comments against McConnell and Chao.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of both the House Homeland Security Committee and the Jan. 6 select committee, called Trump’s rhetoric “inflammatory and racist,” and argued that it could spark violence.
“Former President Trump’s inflammatory and racist attacks directed at Senator McConnell aren’t helpful to the nation or our democracy. Worse yet, they could incite political violence, and the former President knows full well that extremists often view his words as marching orders,” Thompson wrote in a statement.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called Trump’s latest crusade against McConnell “reckless.”
“We live in a polarized political age when rabid partisans don’t need provocation to resort to violence. This makes Donald Trump’s latest verbal assault against Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell all the more reckless,” the board wrote.
“The ‘death wish’ rhetoric is ugly even by Mr. Trump’s standards and deserves to be condemned,” the board added.
Asked about the comments on Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told CNN, “I don’t condone violence, and I hope no one else condones violence.”