(The Hill) Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) comment that she will not be a Republican if former President Trump wins the party’s 2024 presidential nomination is sparking chatter that she might mount an independent White House run.
While Cheney lost her House primary to the former president’s endorsed candidate last month, her break with the MAGA wing of the GOP has made her the leader of the anti-Trump movement among Republicans and beyond.
It’s unclear whether Cheney will run in 2024 at all, whether she would run as an independent if she mounted a bid or what impact an independent bid could have on what’s shaping up to be another Trump-focused presidential election. But observers say she’ll continue to be an important figure on the national stage no matter what.
“She’s going to be one of the most prominent voices in politics over the coming years regardless of being in Congress or not,” said veteran Republican strategist Doug Heye.
Chatter about a possible Cheney presidential bid began almost the minute she lost her House primary and gave a speech that was at once a concession and a vow to keep fighting. Her comments over the weekend are the latest to draw attention from political observers, all of whom are eager to see how Cheney responds to a likely Trump presidential run in 2024.
Though the former president hasn’t announced his intentions yet, reports suggest he could launch another White House bid shortly after the November midterms.
“I’m gonna make sure Donald Trump — I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure he’s not the nominee,” she said during an interview at The Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday.
“And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” she added.
Additionally, the outgoing congresswoman said that she would be willing to campaign for Democrats ahead of November’s midterm elections.
Cheney — who has said she’s “thinking about” a presidential run — remains one of the big wild cards ahead of 2024. Though third-party presidential campaigns have historically fallen flat, Cheney’s high profile means an independent bid has the potential to scramble the political calculus as GOP primary voters increasingly nominate hard-right candidates for office, frustrating more moderate Republicans.
But even as chatter grows about the next presidential race, some observers caution against taking the emphasis off Cheney’s message.
“There are going to be a lot of stories between now and whenever kind of horse racing what are her chances in Nevada or New Hampshire or what have you, and I think they all will miss the point,” Heye said.
“She’s not talking about winning this precinct or that precinct. She’s talking about a much bigger issue,” he continued, referring to concerns over the future of American democracy.
Cheney herself shared this sentiment in Texas over the weekend when asked about 2024.