The field of Wyoming Republicans looking to unseat Liz Cheney has become a Trumpian circus: report
Ever since Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming aggressively supported the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump and made it abundantly clear that she accepted Joe Biden as the legitimately elected president of the United States — policy differences and all — pro-Trump Republicans have been out for revenge. The first part of that revenge occurred when House Republicans voted to remove Cheney as House Republican Conference chair, and the second part of that revenge is a GOP congressional primary in which no less than seven Wyoming Republicans are running against her. The Daily Beast's Sam Brodey examines that primary in an article published on June 21, emphasizing that it has become a total circus.
Brodey notes that earlier this month at a hotel ballroom in Caspar, Wyoming, Florida-based GOP activist K.W. Miller held a forum that featured six of the seven Republicans who are competing with Cheney in that primary. Miller, during a speech, declared that Wyoming is now "Ground Zero" to take back the GOP from "leftists" and "RINOs." Pointing to the six anti-Cheney candidates who were gathered, Miller said, "One of these individuals is going to be your new representative."
"The ensuing two hours made clear that Wyoming's next representative won't just be different from Cheney — they'll be from an entirely different political universe," Brodey explains. "During Miller's forum, the six candidates onstage didn't just castigate Cheney for calling out Trump's unfounded claims about the election he lost, or just enthusiastically embrace those claims themselves. They bragged about being in Washington for the January 6 riot. They endorsed nationwide audits of the 2020 election — including in Wyoming, which posted Trump's largest margin of victory anywhere in the country — and they flirted with leading threads of the QAnon conspiracy theory."
The only Cheney challenger who didn't attend was Rep. Anthony Bouchard, who serves in the Wyoming State Senate. The candidates gathered included Rep. Chuck Gray; Robyn Belinskey, a small business owner in Sheridan, Wyoming; Bryan Miller, a U.S. Air Force veteran; Darin Smith, a Cheyenne-based attorney; Denton Knapp, a retired U.S. Army colonel; and Marissa Selvig, a former appointed mayor of Pavilion, Wyoming. And the "most important qualification" of these candidates, according to Brodey, is "unswerving personal devotion to Trump."
Cheney's challengers were happy to promote the Big Lie during the Caspar forum. Belinskey told others gathered at the Ramkota Hotel, "Trump did win, and I hope he will be reinstated by all these different audits that are going on. He never — what do you call it, dang it — he never conceded." And Smith told forum attendees, "There was massive fraud in this election. That's why I was at the Capitol on January 6 to protest for free and fair elections, because we didn't get one."
Bryan Miller, holding up his red MAGA hat, declared, "The gentleman whose name is on this hat — he is the leader of the Republican Party."
The racist Belinskey, during the forum, bragged about her "patriot car" and said that when a Pakistani man found it offensive, she told him to go back to Pakistan.
Brodey observes, "Every challenger is angling for Trump's endorsement, which is expected to come in this race. The former president has railed against Cheney ever since her vote to impeach him in January and is reportedly itching to exact revenge…. Public enemy No. 1 of the MAGA movement is a precarious place to be in Wyoming — a state that went for Trump by 43 points. And the truckload of Trump-loving candidates are hoping to capitalize on the backlash."
Some of the attendees in Caspar were obvious QAnon supporters. One of them asked the candidates, "Will you fight child sex trafficking and pedophilia, and introduce legislation to criminalize it with stiff prison terms?"
Of course, the use of terms like "RINO" and "leftist" in reference to Cheney during the event were insane considering her history. Cheney, the arch-conservative daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is nowhere near a centrist, let alone a liberal or a progressive. The fact that Cheney is vehemently critical of Trumpism does not meant that she isn't decidedly right-wing.
K.W. Miller told forum attendees that if Cheney does prevail during the primary, it will be bad news for the MAGA movement.
"If we can't remove Liz Cheney from Congress," Miller told attendees, "I'm not sure what state we can win."
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