Liz Cheney teases presidential run, will form anti-Trump effort

The Wyoming Republican said she will decide in "the coming months."

August 17, 2022, 1:23 PM

Rep. Liz Cheney is looking to turn her landslide loss in Wyoming's Republican primary Tuesday night into a nationwide crusade to keep Donald Trump out of the White House -- one she said Wednesday could include her running for president herself.

Despite her six-year tenure in Congress now headed to a close, Cheney said her political work isn't done yet and is previewing what's to come next -- including a potential run for the presidency and an organization aimed at taking down Trump in 2024.

Cheney's first hint at a presidential campaign came in her concession speech, in which she invoked President Abraham Lincoln as an example of patriotism and a champion of the Republican Party.

"The great and original champion of our party, Abraham Lincoln, was defeated in elections for the Senate and the House before he won the most important election of all," she told her supporters on Tuesday night. "Lincoln ultimately prevailed, he saved our Union and he defined our obligation as Americans for all of history."

PHOTO: Rep. Liz Cheney gives a concession speech to supporters during a primary night event, Aug. 16, 2022, in Jackson, Wyo.
Rep. Liz Cheney gives a concession speech to supporters during a primary night event, Aug. 16, 2022, in Jackson, Wyo.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Cheney, once a rising Republican star, was soundly defeated by Trump-backed Harriet Hageman. Cheney said Tuesday she could have won another term but only if she accepted Trump's lies about the 2020 election.

As vice-chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Cheney has become one of the party's most outspoken critics of the former president.

"It would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic -- that was a path I could not and would not take," she said as she addressed her supporters on Tuesday night.

Cheney made a more direct indication she's thinking about running for the White House on Wednesday morning.

"I'm not going to make any announcements here this morning, but it is something that I am thinking about and I'll make a decision in the coming months," Cheney told NBC's "Today" program on Wednesday.

In the meantime, her focus will be on stopping Trump.

"In coming weeks, Liz will be launching an organization to educate the American people about the ongoing threat to our Republic, and to mobilize a unified effort to oppose any Donald Trump campaign for president," Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler told ABC News.

The news of the anti-Trump group was first reported by Politico.

Trump has yet to formally announce a campaign but has repeatedly hinted at a comeback since the day he left office. Most recently, he told Fox News at CPAC that the "the time is coming" for a formal announcement.

Trump took a victory lap as Cheney was defeated on Tuesday night, calling Hageman's win "great and very decisive."

"This is a wonderful result for America, and a complete rebuke of the Unselect Committee of political Hacks and Thugs," Trump posted to Truth Social. "Liz Cheney should be ashamed of herself, the way she acted, and her spiteful, sanctimonious words and actions towards others. Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I am sure, she will be much happier than she is right now."

His criticism of Cheney continued in another post on Wednesday.

"The Fake News Media is claiming that Liz Cheney has such a 'wonderful and bright' political future. Maybe they didn't notice that she lost by nearly 40 points? She's too angry and sick to succeed in the future, but who knows!" he wrote on the conservative social media site.

ABC News' Will Steakin contributed to this report.