Congresswoman Liz Cheney visits Syracuse University
Congresswoman Liz Cheney visits SU
Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney spoke to a nearly full Goldstein Auditorium on Monday. Joined by Maxwell Dean David Van Slyke and Provost Gretchen Ritter, Congresswoman Cheney spoke about the Jan. 6 Congressional committee, the importance of a robust civics education, and protecting the sanctity of the Constitution. The event began with opening remarks from Dean Van Slyke, followed by SU Prof. Sean O’Keefe who introduced the Congresswoman
Cheney began with an opening statement, discussing her experience in the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. She recalls walking around Statuary Hall that night, after the insurrectionists had attempted to infiltrate the building and obstruct the certification of President Biden’s election, seeing the officers who had fought back against the insurrectionists that day.
“They spent the day defending the Capitol building and defending our democratic process,” said Cheney. “There were not words to express the emotion of the fact that they had to engage in that battle.”
Cheney has been a fixture of headlines over the past year, standing out among her colleagues in the Republican Party by denying President Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and pushing to impeach the former president after Jan. 6. As a result, she’s earned ire from many of her colleagues and much of the Republican party’s MAGA wing, eventually losing her bid for reelection this year. The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney is, as Provost Ritter described, “someone who hails from Republican royalty.” So when she was defeated by Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman in a congressional primary, people noticed.
“Should we be surprised by this?” asked Ritter.
“Well, yes.” said Cheney.
Cheney went on to speak about the state of democracy after the Jan. 6 riots. She describes the incident as “clearly indefensible,” an uncommon position among GOP representatives. She answered several questions from Ritter on topics ranging from the insurrection to gay marriage – a topic close to the Cheney family and one where the congresswoman has changed her position over her career. While Cheney may have gained recent attention for standing out among her party, her conservative pedigree never wavered. When asked about the state of the Republican Party by Ritter, Cheney notes that she “really believe[s] in what the party used to stand for.”
Later, Van Slyke returned to the stage to ask pre-submitted questions from attendees. Questions focused on topics from environmental policy to alternative facts. When asked about civic curriculum in schools, she notes that she thinks students are too frequently taught about the negative aspects of America. Instead, she thinks curriculum should acknowledge the United States’ imperfections while highlighting the stories of great men and women.
“America is far from perfect, and our children need to understand that,” said Cheney. “But we’re the most perfect nation that’s ever existed.”