Dick Cheney just told a hard truth to his fellow Republicans on January 6

The former vice president – and congressman – has long been a shameless conservative. When he and President George W. Bush left office in early 2009, he was the conservative the Liberals loved to hate the most.

This all brings me to Thursday when Cheney offered a scathing critique of his own party and their collective reactions to the riot on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

It should be noted here – as many Republicans will do – that Cheney’s daughter, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, is the main (and one of the only) voice in the Republican Party urging the GOP to condemn both what happened on January 6 and the role then played by then President Donald Trump in fomenting the insurgency.

Which, well, okay. Cheney, like any parent, is probably somewhat protective of his daughter. But, at the same time, he didn’t have to come to Congress to commemorate the anniversary of the January 6 attack. He also didn’t have to speak to reporters – and tell them how he thinks the GOP has gone astray.

That he has done so speaks to his concern about the current leadership of the Republican Party – and his belief that a course correction is absolutely necessary.

He’s right, of course. And, I guess a lot of elected Republicans – the leadership and the grassroots – know this but are just too afraid of incurring Trump’s wrath to speak out.

Consider what the top two Republicans in Congress said in the aftermath of the riot.

“Former President Trump’s actions before the riot were a shameful dereliction of duty,” Senator Mitch McConnell told the Senate following Trump’s acquittal last February on an impeachment charge for his actions (and his absence) on January 6. “There is no doubt that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for bringing about the events of that day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting according to their president’s wishes and instructions.
A week after the Capitol Riot, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was equally blunt. “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the crowd when he saw what was going on. These facts require immediate action from President Trump.”
In the year since those comments, McConnell has remained silent about Trump while McCarthy has returned to Trump’s good graces by trying to rewrite January 6 history – and Trump’s role in it. this. The party has generally followed suit, with few elected Republicans willing to stand up and say that Trump lost the fair and square election and that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. So few have been willing to step outside the box, as a significant majority of the Republican base now believes in the lie that the election was stolen from Trump.

Staying silent or even standing up for something you know to be wrong is, literally, the opposite of what leadership looks like. Real leaders stand up for what they believe is right, even if their constituents may not always agree. Because leadership is not going to get along. It is putting yourself in danger when it is really important to stand up and do what needs to be done for the good of the country.

Cheney’s criticism of the leaders of his own party goes directly to this question of leadership. And every Republican in Congress should stop what they’re doing and listen to it.

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