If the name Liz Cheney rings a bell, it’s not just because she’s the only member in Congress to represent Wyoming, nor is it because she is the Chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the third-ranking GOP member in the House of Representatives. As the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, Liz Cheney is a major name in the GOP and D.C. establishment — and part of a group opposed to the brand of conservatism espoused by outgoing President Donald Trump (via Politico).
It took two tries for Cheney to get to Congress. She made her first attempt for a seat in the Senate in 2014, when she launched a primary challenge against Senator Mike Enzi. According to CNN, that bid was far from favorable with her father’s establishment associates. She ended up running for a seat in the House instead, which she won, and when Enzi finally came up for retirement, Cheney raised Senate Republican eyebrows once again by declining the opportunity she once sought.
Liz Cheney is the third-ranking GOP member in the House of Representatives
Liz Cheney is the elder of two girls born to Lynne and Dick Cheney. She was captain of the McLean High School cheerleading team and went to Colorado College, where she stood out for her conservative views. A family friend, DJ Gribbin, tells New York magazine, “She [Cheney] was impressive even as a younger kid: bright, solid, not quirky or flighty … Her mom was proud of the fact that Liz was very engaged, espousing her worldview and what was best for America, even in a context where most listeners wouldn’t have shared her worldview.”
It was at Colorado College where Liz Cheney met her husband, Philip Perry, whom she married in 1992. After graduation, the couple moved to Chicago, where she became a student at the University of Chicago law school and earned her JD (via WyoFile). Cheney and Perry now have five children and live in Wilson, Wyoming (via her House.gov official bio).
Liz Cheney's stand on same-sex marriage hurt family ties
While family friends have always described the Cheneys as being very close, one family drama bubbled up into the public sphere. During her aborted 2014 run for the Senate, Liz’s comments opposing same-sex marriage made waves — because her sister, Mary, is gay.
Mary and her wife, Heather Poe, went public to say they were offended by her position. Poe made her thoughts clear on social media when the controversy broke, saying, “”Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 — she didn’t hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least” (via Politico).
The very public break in family bonds was painful for the Cheneys, and, according to Politico, it prompted the former Vice President and his wife to release a statement saying, “This is an issue we have dealt with privately for many years, and we are pained to see it become public. Since it has, one thing should be clear. Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage.”
Liz Cheney is her father's intellectual heiress
Liz Cheney is very close to her father, Dick, and she doesn’t shy away from letting people know what she thinks of her controversial dad. “I know of no one who has been more courageous and dedicated and honorable than my dad, in terms of being willing to say this is absolutely what we have to do, this is the right thing to do, sometimes when nobody else was willing to do it,” she told CBS while the two were promoting their book, Exceptional: Why The World Needs a Powerful America, in 2015.
Fans of the Cheney clan say that attitude doesn’t just reflect the father’s view on what needs to be done and how to do it, it reflects Liz’s ethos too. “She almost thrives in an atmosphere where the overall philosophy is discredited and she is a lonely voice,” someone who worked with Liz Cheney at the State Department told New York.
As such, she is one of few Republicans to rebuke Donald Trump and his allies on the positions they have taken in the past, from abandoning the Kurds, to trying to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci. Now, Cheney is one of a handful of Republicans — and the first in GOP leadership — calling for the President’s impeachment in light of the attack on the Capitol. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Cheney said in a statement (via Politico). “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.”
Cheney’s willingness to buck the system has drawn comparisons to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As Politico reports, GOP Congressman Greg Walden called her “a strong person, in a big position, a woman who stands her ground in an otherwise male-dominated conference.”
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