Former GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who is warning about the potential dangers of a second Donald Trump presidency, said Americans should take his recent dictator remark “literally and seriously.”
Trump raised alarms earlier this week when he declined to flat out reassure the public that he wouldn’t abuse power if he is elected, instead telling Fox News host Sean Hannity he wouldn’t be a dictator “except on Day One.”
Some Republicans have suggested Trump was making a joke but Cheney — who had a lead role in investigating his actions after the 2020 election and on Jan. 6, 2021 — disagreed.
“I think we have to take everything that Donald Trump says literally and seriously,” Cheney said in an interview with ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl, which will air Sunday on “This Week.”
“And I think that we saw, frankly, what he was willing to do already after the 2020 election in the lead up to Jan. 6, after Jan 6,” she continued. “People need to remember that when Donald Trump woke up on the morning of Jan. 6, he thought he was going to remain as president. And we saw the extent to which he was willing to attempt to seize power when he lost an election.”
Cheney called it “wishful thinking” to believe that Trump would “now abide by the rulings of the courts or be stopped by the guardrails of our democracy.”
It cost Cheney her congressional career to take on Trump, who she’s characterized as an existential threat to American democracy and perhaps the “most dangerous” person to ever occupy the Oval Office. Trump, hitting back in social media posts this week, called her comments “unhinged” and said she is suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
Cheney’s time as vice chair of the House Jan. 6 Committee, which recommended Trump be criminally charged for inciting an insurrection and other violations, defined her final days in Washington before she was defeated by a Republican challenger backed by the former president.