Liz and Dick Cheney join Democrats to mark Jan. 6 attack anniversary

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney paid a surprise visit to the Capitol on Thursday, as Democrats in Congress solemnly marked the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

The former vice president told reporters he was there to support his daughter, Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who is vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack. But he also wanted to come to Washington to commemorate the dark day. 

“It’s an important historical event. You can’t overestimate how important it is,” Dick Cheney said before he and his daughter entered the House chamber for a moment of silence. 

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There, it was starkly obvious how many Republicans shared the former VP’s view of the day’s importance: Save for the two Cheneys and an aide, every seat on the Republican half of the massive chamber was empty.

Over the past year, Liz Cheney’s willingness to condemn former President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the deadly insurrection, and her refusal to downplay its significance, have made her a pariah within her party. 

On Thursday, as Democrats held events around the Capitol all day, Republicans were absent. 

Paper statements 

Murkowski and Romney were among the 7 Republican senators who voted last year to convict Trump when he was impeached for inciting the attack, and the only ones to release public statements on Thursday.

The other five who voted to convict were Maine’s Susan Collins, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

Collins and Cassidy briefly addressed the anniversary of the attack this week in interviews with local media. Sasse gave the Omaha World-Herald a statement emphasizing that the violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election had been a failure. Neither Burr nor Toomey publicly marked the anniversary.

Elsewhere, Republican leaders lambasted Democrats for the events, alleging the party was using the anniversary as a “political weapon” with which to attack Republicans. 

“The actions of that day were lawless and as wrong as wrong can be,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote in a letter to his caucus earlier in the week. But he also claimed that Democrats were “using it as a partisan political weapon to further divide our country.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney looks on as his daughter Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., takes the oath of office on the House floor on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

For the elder Cheney, who served in the House for a decade in the 1980s, much of the fault lies with GOP leaders.

“I’m deeply disappointed we don’t have better leadership in the Republican Party to restore the Constitution,” Dick Cheney said at the Capitol Thursday.

The leader of the GOP

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