Liz Cheney defends anti-Trump rhetoric during visit to campus


Credit/Maeve McAllister

(From left to right) Kenneth Tran, Maeve McAllister, Amani Clemons, Dana Bash, CNN chief political correspondent, Ryan Heath, Liz Manning

Anna Raley , News Editor

At the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Wyoming representative Liz Cheney was the feature speaker for the First Amendment Award on Tuesday, November 9. 

The award itself is labeled as The Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications’ First Amendment Award. Consistently the award is presented to a New Hampshire resident or organization that has exemplified effort in protecting the Constitution’s First Amendment Rights. These rights include the right to free speech, assembly, press, religion, or government petition. In past years the recipient pool featured whistleblowers, activists, school board members, and newspapers. The 18th award has been presented to Tara Gunnigle and Jon Pearson, a couple who revealed the town government scandal in which a land deal approved by the Webster Select Board was found to violate state law. The selectboard, in a private session, approved a land purchase made by the town treasurer in 2019. Gunnigle and Pearson caught wind of this transaction and demanded that the minutes to the meeting be made public. After this demand the sale of town property rules violation had been made public. 

Cheney’s appearance at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics was embellished by her role not only as Wyoming’s lone Congress member in the House, but in her role as the vice-chairwoman of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. As vice-chairwoman, Cheney has announced her commitment in exposing the truth of the insurgency and hold applicable members accountable for their wrongdoing. Cheney stated on Tuesday that the United States is. “Confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before.” Her commitment to unraveling the truth mirrors that of the First Amendment Award’s objectives, holding Cheney as the figurehead of constitutional commitment. 

Cheney chose to not only address the necessity in investigating the events on January 6, but she also criticised the Republican party for their continuous support for Donald Trump. As a Republican member herself, Cheney stands as one of few to explicitly condemn Trump for his actions as president. “Political leaders who sit silent in the face of these false and dangerous claims are aiding the former President who is at war with the rule of law, and the Constitution,” Cheney stated. “When our constitutional order is threatened, as it is now, rising above partisanship is not simply an aspiration. It is an obligation.” 

However, despite potentially angering some Republican party members in the room, Cheney reminds the audience of her conservative nature by opposing Biden’s policies as standing president. In an interview with WMUR9 after the event, Cheney stated, “I think it’s really important that the Republican Party gets back to being a party that’s based on substance and principles and truth. The policies we’ve seen from the Biden administration are really bad policies, whether it’s on the economy, Afghanistan, national security. We have to present people and alternatives, and I think it matters for the country.”

Sophomore student Amani Clemons is one of many community members who remained in awe of Cheney’s presentation as Tuesday’s keynote speaker. Clemons is one of the ten Kevin B. Harrington ambassadors randomly selected to attend this event. She rose to the occasion in her role as a communications committee member and described the atmosphere of this unique event. “The room was very energetic.” Clemons explained. “We all knew that she was going to be there and that it was going to be a big deal. You could feel the energy when she went to the podium to actually speak. In the end there was a general appreciation shown through a standing ovation and we all appreciate her work in upholding the first amendment.”

With regards to the content of Cheney’s words, Clemons stated, “Within her speech you could tell that it was crafted with an underlying political element because there are hints and rumors now that she might plan on running in the Republican primary for the presidential election, and that her appearance in New Hampshire is more for than just this award.” Clemons’s respect for Cheney mirrors that of many other politics students here at Saint Anselm College. The impact of Cheney’s words resonated with the domestic political arena, however, in a more personal manner, she resonated with the future politicians that the college is currently supporting.