Former Congresswoman Liz Cheney tried a little trash talk of her own this week at the Mackinac Policy Conference, breaking out a retort she never used back when the name-calling first started with Donald Trump.
Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was a conservative in the womb, she asserts — and when Trump initially pegged her as a Republican in Name Only (RINO, as the acronym has it) her first thought was to declare her bona fides — and the longevity of her stance.
.@Liz_Cheney discusses an unsent tweet she wrote about Donald Trump's spray tan: "I've been a conservative longer than Donald Trump has been spray tanning."— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) June 1, 2023
She opted against sending the tweet because "technically, we don't know how long Donald Trump’s been spray tanning." pic.twitter.com/OII7jvbndN
“I’ve been a conservative,” she wanted to say, “longer than Donald Trump has been spray tanning.”
Cheney says, tongue in cheek, that she didn’t use the line at the time because she had no evidence as to exactly when Trump’s spray-tanning began.
Critics point out that Cheney pausing to consider her facts before slinging the insult is one thing that separates her from Trump — and they don’t mean it as a compliment. They mean it in the sense that you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.
Cheney remains a major voice among traditional non-MAGA Republicans — and the biggest question in GOP political circles as the 2024 election cycle kicks in is this: How big is that traditional Republican contingent now?
After Donald Trump smashed and grabbed his way through the 2016 GOP primary, laying waste to the Republican competition, and after his subsequent presidency and post-presidency solidified — according to current polls — his grip on the party, what’s left of the kind of Republican Liz Cheney represents?
Voted out of her congressional seat by those who felt Cheney was — as one of two Republicans on the January 6th Committee — disloyal to the MAGA-dominated GOP, Cheney is considered radioactive by some and a potential rival for the GOP nomination by others. Is she an option for a divided electorate or an also-ran in the mode of Mitt Romney, an establishment Republican whose day was decidedly yesterday?
With the shifting ideas of how a Republican is now defined, Cheney might welcome the RINO description now — that is, if Republican is what one calls Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Cheney might prefer another category.
Cheney’s spray tan line gets a hearty laugh from the crowd, but it comes too late to peel away a MAGA believer. There’s a sense of lament, even in the comments that support her. “Omg I would have loved that!” says one. “Would have.”
Omg I would have loved that! 🤣🤣🤣— Krista Picton (@rummy518) June 1, 2023