Liz Cheney discusses her political future and the state of the Republican Party

Rep. Liz Cheney spoke with Jonathan Karl for "This Week."
10:17 | 05/16/21

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Transcript for Liz Cheney discusses her political future and the state of the Republican Party
Liz Cheney sat for an interview Friday with our chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl, and he began by asking about the selection of Elise Stefanik as her replacement. What does it say about the party choosing somebody to replace you who was effectively chosen by Donald Trump? It's saying what he's been saying, those very lies that you have been talking about. I think it's very dangerous. I think that we have to recognize how quickly things can unravel. We have to recognize what it means for the nation to have a former president who has not conceded, and who continues to suggest that our electoral system cannot function, cannot do the will of the people. To cause that kind of questioning about our process, frankly it's the same kinds of things that the Chinese communist party says about our party, that it's a failed system, that America is a failed nation. I won't be part of that, and I think it's important for Republicans who won't be part of that to stand up and speak out. When you say dangerous, do you say dangerous as in January 6th could happen again or something worse? I think there's no question. We've now seen the consequences we've seen how far the president -- president trump was willing to go. We've seen not only his provocation of the attack, but his refusal to send help when it was needed, his refusal to immediately, you know, say stop, and that in and of itself in my view was a very clear violation of his oath and of his duty. Now the speaker along with at least one Republican -- key Republican have announced an agreement on a commission to look into what happened on January 6th. Should Kevin Mccarthy be willing to speak -- testify before that commission? After all, he is one of the few people that we know of that was actually talking to Donald Trump while the attack was taking place. He absolutely should, and I wouldn't be surprised if he were subpoenaed. I think he very clearly and said publicly he's got information about the president's state of mind that day. So you would welcome a subpoena for Kevin Mccarthy to testify? I would anticipate that the, you know, I would hope he doesn't require a subpoena, but I wouldn't be surprised if he were subpoenaed. How many of your colleagues actually believe that stuff? Actually believe the election was stolen? I think it's a relatively small number. Adam Kinzinger says social security -- it's a handful? I would say that's right. So they're just saying that for Donald Trump? It's really dangerous. Did you vote for Donald Trump in 2020? I did. Do you regret that vote? Look. I think that the -- How could you not regret that vote given what's happened? Yeah. I mean, look. I was never going to support Joe Biden, and I do regret the vote. I think that it was a vote based on policy, based on sort of substance and what I know in terms of the kinds of policies he put forth that were good for the country, but I think it is fair to say I regret the vote. If the Republican party nominates Donald Trump in 2024, could you stay in a Republican party that decides he should be the nominee again? I will do everything that I can to make sure he's not the nominee, and, you know, everything necessary to make sure that he never gets anywhere close to the oval office again. But would you remain in the party if he were the nominee? I will not support him, and will do everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen. What about losing the population in five of the last six presidential elections? I'm concerned. As a party, we have to say, what do we stand for? What do we believe in? We also have to stop -- and the Democrats need to stop doing this too. We have to stop incentivizing serious behavior. We have to stop incentivizing vitriol, and incentivizing people to show up here and think the goal is to be a social media star. Congresswoman Virginia fox talking about you said, she who thinks she leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk. Liz, I'm afraid you are only a woman taking a walk. Does she have a point? I mean, there was really nobody that came to your defense. I mean, there were a couple of Adam Kinzinger, but you were pretty much alone on this. Well, I think that it is very important to stand up for what's right. I know that there are many members who have expressed concern about their own security, and I think that's an important point to think about as well, that we now live in a country where members' votes are affected because they're worried about their security. They're worried about threats on their lives. So I think that's part of it, but look. I think there's no question that at this moment, the majority of the Republican party is not where I am, but it's my responsibility as an elected - official. It's my responsibility as a leader to lead, and to tell the truth. I've seen other Republicans over the past 4 1/2 years who have stood up to Donald Trump. Jeff flake comes to mind, Bob corker comes to mind, and there are others and they're gone. I mean, he won. They came out. They made the statement. They stood up to him, and they were effectively run out of Republican politics. Why will it be any different with you? One thing that will make it different is January 6th. This is not about policy or whether you like his tweets or don't like his tweets. This is about the attack on the capitol, and the fundamental attack and continued assault on the foundations of the republic. Once January 6th happened, that's the end, and that has been I think the most disappointing thing to me, that more of my colleagues have not been willing to stand up and say that can never happen again. In fact, what we heard this week is we saw members of the Republican party in the house basically deny it happened. We saw one Republican congressman say that the protesters were orderly. Another one said they saw no evidence that trump supporters were actually among the rioters. What does it say that some are able to erase the memory of what happened on January 6th? It's indefensible. I will never forget seeing the law enforcement officers, the members of the S.W.A.T. Team, the rapid response forces seeing them in their exhaustion, and they had been through hand to hand combat. People died, and the notion that this -- the notion that this was somehow a tourist event is disgraceful and despicable, and, you know, I won't be part of whitewashing what happened on January 6th. Nobody should be part of it and people ought to be held accountable. What was your experience on that day during the riot? Did you feel like you were in danger? One thing I will never forget, I was on the aisle, and I looked across the aisle, and Jamie Raskin was sitting on the other side of the aisle, and you could hear the mob coming, and he looked at me and he showed me his phone and he said, Liz, there's a confederate flag flying in the rotunda, and that moment of, you know, this cannot be happening in the united States of America. Jim Jordan talking about a possible trump 2024 run said, there's no way he is losing. He's going to win the Republican primary, and he's going to be president if he decides to run. Now based on today's facts, he's right, isn't he, about the primary part, at least? I mean, there's nobody -- there's not even a close second out there, is there? I think Jim's wrong. It's not the first time Jim has been wrong, and I'm sure it won't be the last time, but he is wrong, and I think there are millions and millions of Republicans who won't let that happen again. What will it take for you to run for president? I am right now focused on my re-election. I understand. In Wyoming. Of course, you are, and you very much need to be, but what would it take for you to run for president? I heard you on the radio, so it's not too far out of your mind. I think it's really important that we as Republicans be in a position where we can present to our voters, to my voters in Wyoming and to our voters across the country, a set of issues and policies that reflect conservative principles, but also hope and opportunity, and inspiration. Would your father like to see you run? Well, yeah, but he's my dad. So he's not objective. Good point. And Jon Karl joins us now. Jon, is Liz Cheney really considering a run for president in 2024? It sure sounds that way to me, Martha. I mean, first of all, she was joking a bit about her father, but her father is her most important political adviser, and she told me that he does want her to run, and look. She believes that Donald Trump poses a threat not just to the Republican party, but to the country. She needs a platform to be able to make that case. A run for president is such a platform, but she has a much more big and immediate problem and that is re-election in Wyoming, and you heard from those Wyoming voters. She said, how would she respond? She would go across the state, and she said, I think the issue is the ongoing of the continued threat that the former president is throwing. That is a tough argument to make in Wyoming which Donald Trump won by 70% of the vote, and still by all accounts remains very, very popular. Indeed he is. I saw it myself. Thanks so much, Jon. A great interview.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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