Washington DC – When Nancy Pelosi toasted Liz Cheney, it was the most unlikely toast.
Democratic lawmakers and the Republican congresswoman gathered in the House Speaker’s office as the group prepared for the first session of the commission investigating the January 6 uprising on the Capitol.
Pelosi spoke of “solemn responsibility” in front of them and raised the glass of water to Cheney, daughter of the former vice president and the only Republican in the room.
“We salute Liz for her courage,” he said, according to a person familiar with the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.
Politics often creates unlikely alliances, the bizarre agreements between potential enemies who abandon their differences to commit to a common cause.
Rarely has there been a meeting of minds like this – two of Capitol Hill’s strongest women, partisans at opposite ends of the political divide – who have come together on a shared belief that the truth about the insurgency should emerge and those responsible held accountable. They believe that nothing less than the functioning of American democracy is at stake.
“Nothing unites politicians like a common enemy,” said John Pitney, a former Republican staff member and professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College.
The commission will hold its first hearing next week and the stakes of the Pelosi-Cheney alliance have never been higher. The panel will hear testimony from police officers who fought Trump supporters that day at the Capitol. Officials described the hour-long siege not as a rally of peaceful protesters, as some Republicans claim, but rather as a violent mob trying to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election.
As their new partnership develops, the risks and rewards have an uneven flow. Pelosi benefits most politically from bringing Cheney to her side, giving the commission’s investigation the bipartisan feel it needs to avoid being seen as a strictly political exercise.
For Cheney, who has already been kicked out of the GOP leadership for her criticism of Trump, the political dangers are much greater. She was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the insurgency, and her willingness to speak out against her main ally, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, now leaves her isolated on Capitol Hill. He is facing backlash from the ranks and serious primary challenges for his re-election at home.
“I’m horrified,” said Senator Cynthia Lummis, a Republican colleague from Wyoming, about Cheney’s actions.
Cheney, however, shows no sign of wanting to give up what she sees as an existential struggle not only for the party she and her family helped build, but also for the very soul of the nation.
“The American people deserve to know what happened,” he said this week.
Standing on the steps of the Capitol, Cheney harshly criticized McCarthy’s rhetoric as “shameful” and supported Pelosi’s decision to block two of his panel nominees because of their alliance with Trump.
McCarthy has suggested that Cheney may be closer to Pelosi now than her own party, and has withdrawn all Republican membership in the committee.
Pelosi and Cheney are not very friends.
Despite their long backgrounds in American politics, they never really spoke to each other before this time.
Pelosi won her first term as a speaker during the George W. Bush administration, largely attacking the White House for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the hawkish defensive attitude of then Vice President Dick Cheney.
Liz Cheney took office in 2017 defending her father’s legacy, speaking boldly at one of her first press conferences in support of waterboarding’s advanced interrogation technique that was denounced as torture under her control. During Trump’s first impeachment, he tore apart Pelosi’s intentions in speeches.
While both are political royals, Pelosi and Cheney have operated in parallel political universes for much of their careers. A generation later, they bring different styles to work: Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal, Cheney, the Wyoming conservative. The only thing they have in common is that they are both mothers of five children.
Yet when Pelosi called Cheney the morning after the vote to set up the select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol, both seemed to immediately grasp the historical gravity of the moment.
Pelosi thanked Cheney for her patriotism and invited her to join the panel – an extraordinary moment, the Democratic speaker nominated a Republican for a post.
Cheney quickly agreed, replying that she was honored to serve, according to another person familiar with the conversation who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private interviews.
Behind closed doors, those involved in the work of the committee see Cheney as a serious and constructive member, hardly a Republican figure but a determined partner to what he said must be a “sober” investigation. It was Cheney who raised the idea of having former Republican Representative Denver Riggleman of Virginia as an adviser to the committee, which is under consideration, one of the people said.
Rep Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Panel chairman on Jan.6, said that while he and others didn’t know Cheney well, he found her “just like every other member I have a relationship with. And I think she’s a well. I just wish we had more relationships of that kind in this institution. We’d be better off. “
For Cheney and Pelosi, the commission and its findings are likely to define aspects of their careers.
Pelosi has led the House to impeach Trump twice and is determined to hold him accountable for his actions on Jan.6 as he concludes what may be his final years as a speaker.
Seven people died in the siege and its aftermath, including Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by police as she scrambled through a broken window trying to access the House chamber. Three other Trump supporters in the crowd died of natural causes. Police officer Brian Sicknick, who had fought the rioters, died the next day. Two other officers took their own lives.
Cheney, who warned his party in an editorial that “history is watching” right now, promises to seek a fourth term but has an uncertain political future.
According to a new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 60% of Americans say it is very or extremely important that the investigation continue to examine what happened during the January 6 breach at the United States Capitol.
The poll, conducted July 15-19, showed that 51% of Americans say they have an unfavorable opinion of Pelosi, even though he is more favorable among Democrats. For Cheney, the results show her more favorably rated by Democrats than Republicans. Among Democrats, 47% say they have a favorable view of Cheney and 20% a negative view, while among Republicans, 21% have a favorable view and 46% have an unfavorable view.
Pitney, the professor who worked for Elder Cheney decades ago in the House leadership but left the Republican Party during the Trump era, said the Pelosi and Cheney bond will be one for history.
“It’s like one of those sci-fi movies from the 1950s where everyone comes together for the alien invader,” he said. Pelosi and Cheney have “a legitimate common interest in getting to the bottom of the insurrection”.
[ https://www.rocetoday.com/pelosi-cheney-never-trumpers-will-do-anything-to-gain-power/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pelosi-cheney-never-trumpers-will-do-anything-to-gain-power https://d26toa8f6ahusa.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/30214746/a-quiet-place-part-2-bigs-16.pdf