It speaks volumes about the state of conservative politics in 2022 America that the sight of Liz Cheney on Fox News Thursday afternoon was genuinely surprising.
The Republican congresswoman appeared from Capitol Hill with Bret Baier—the network’s last remaining anchor even capable of delivering “straight” news after Chris Wallace’s recent departure—and did not hesitate to tear into former President Donald Trump for his leadership role in inciting the insurrection one year earlier.
After praising speeches marking the anniversary from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris earlier in the day, Cheney quickly pivoted to attacking Trump. “This was a mob that was summoned by and provoked by the president of the United States in an effort to stop the counting of electoral votes, which is a Constitutional process,” she said, explaining how the events of January 6th were different from the outside threats that hit America in the cases of 9/11 or Pearl Harbor.
Repeatedly during the interview, Baier attempted to goad Cheney into criticizing the current administration, but time and again she explained away her “policy” differences with the Democrats while focusing on the wrongdoing of Trump. When Baier characterized Trump’s speech prior to the attack as “peaceful,” she pushed back, noting that he told his crowd to “fight like hell.”
And later, when the host tried to shift blame to the House Sergeant of Arms for failing to protect the Capitol, Cheney threw out an analogy that is likely to resonate Fox viewers, comparing that to blaming the small business owners “whose businesses were burned to the ground last summer by antifa and BLM rioters” for the destruction of their own property. Instead, she laid responsibility directly at the feet of the “mob provoked by President Trump.”
“I also think you have to look at what he’s said since,” she said of the former president. “He continues to suggest that the violence on January 6th was justified. When he says November 3rd was the insurrection and January 6th was a protest, what he’s doing is continuing to undermine our electoral process. He’s gone to war with the rule of law, and I think that’s also really important for people to understand.”
Perhaps expecting the inevitable pushback from his viewers, Baier ended the segment by thanking Cheney for coming on, adding, “We want to hear from all sides.”