Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) won the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Sunday, and she warned in her acceptance remarks that former President Donald Trump remains one of the greatest threats to American democracy.
“President Kennedy said, ‘In the long history of freedom, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger,’” Cheney told attendees at the event in Boston. “Today, that role is ours as we face a threat we have never faced before: a former president attempting to unravel our constitutional republic.”
“At this moment, we must all summon the courage to stand against that,” she said.
Cheney, who is vice chair of the House committee investigating what led up to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, is one of just two Republicans in Congress willing to be part of the panel. For nearly a year, it has been connecting the dots between Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election by spreading a lie about widespread voter fraud — and then directing his supporters to storm the Capitol to stop lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden as the president.
The other Republican on the panel is Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.). It is expected to hold its last hearing in September and produce a final report with recommendations for preventing such an attack from happening again. The Jan. 6 riot resulted in the deaths of at least seven people and injuries to more than 140 police officers.
In her remarks Sunday, without naming names, Cheney singled out the dangerous detail that makes Trump stand out from all previous U.S. presidents.
“This sacred obligation to defend the peaceful transfer of power has been honored by every American president ― except one,” she said.
“The question for every one of us is, in this time of testing, will we do our duty? Will we defend our Constitution? Will we stand for truth? Will we put duty to our oath above partisan politics?” Cheney asked. “Or will we look away from danger, ignore the threat, embrace the lies and enable the liar?”
The Wyoming Republican framed this moment in American history as people “engaged in a battle we must win” to protect democracy.
“As we leave here tonight, I ask all of you to remember … that in our republic, some things have to matter,” she added. “The defense of our republic, the defense of the constitutional foundations of our nation, have to matter.”
This year’s other JFK Profile in Courage Award winners are Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Arizona state Rep. Russell Bowers, and Wandrea Moss, an elections department employee in Fulton County, Georgia.