On July 16, 2013, Cheney announced that she would run for the Senate in 2014 from the state of Wyoming as a Republican, challenging the incumbent Republican senator Mike Enzi. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said it would back Enzi, as was policy. Cheney was expected to receive strong fundraising, but faced concerns about the fact she moved to Wyoming in fall 2012. In the video announcing her candidacy, she noted that the Cheney family first came to Wyoming in 1852. Her father served Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1989.
Elizabeth Lynne Cheney (/ˈtʃeɪni/ CHAY-nee; born July 28, 1966) is an American attorney serving as the U.S. Representative for Wyoming's at-large congressional district since 2017. Cheney is the House Republican Conference Chair, the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership. She is the third woman elected to that position after Deborah Pryce and Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Liz Cheney was born on July 28, 1966, in Madison, Wisconsin, the elder of two daughters of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Second Lady Lynne Cheney (née Vincent). At the time of her birth, her parents were studying at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her younger sister, Mary Cheney, was also born in Madison. Cheney attended part of sixth and seventh grade in Casper, Wyoming, while her father campaigned for Congress. The family split time between Casper and Washington, D.C., in the 1970s through the 1980s following her father's election to Congress. Cheney graduated from McLean High School (1984), where she was a cheerleader. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) from Colorado College, her mother's alma mater, where she wrote her senior thesis, "The Evolution of Presidential War Powers" (1988). She received her J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School (1996), having also taken courses in Middle Eastern history at the Oriental Institute.
Liz Cheney is married to Philip Perry, a partner at the law firm of Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C. They were married in Wyoming in 1993. She and Perry have five children.
In 2002, Cheney was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, a preexisting vacant post with an "economic portfolio", a mandate to promote investment in the region. Amid reports, including a New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman, that the job was created especially for her, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that she had come recommended by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Sunday Times (London) reported that Cheney's appointment was "the most intriguing sign that America is getting serious about Middle East reform" and "a measure of the seriousness with which the administration was taking Middle East programmes for literacy, education, and reform." The appointment followed publicized policy divisions between the Vice President's office and the State Department on Middle East policy. In that position, she was given control of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, designed to "foster increased democracy and economic progress in a troubled region." The program spent $29 million in 2002, increased to $129 million in the following year. Cheney's task was to channel money to pre-screened groups, some of which were not identified publicly for fear of retaliations from extant governments they sought to undermine. For the budget year 2004, the project sought $145 million.
After two years of service, Cheney left her State Department post in 2003 to serve in her father's 2004 reelection campaign. She participated in the campaign's "W Stands for Women" initiative to target female voters.
On February 14, 2005, she returned to the U.S. State Department and was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State For Near Eastern Affairs and Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives. In this position, Cheney supported the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, C. David Welch, and coordinated multilateral efforts to promote and support democracy and expand education and economic opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. Cheney oversaw the launch of two semi-independent foundations, the Fund of the Future (worth $100 million), to provide capital for small businesses, and the Foundation of the Future (worth $55 million), to promote freedom of the press and democracy. In that capacity, Cheney endorsed a draft of a new Iraqi constitution.
Cheney also headed the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG), established in March 2006, a unit within the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
In April 2006, The New York Times published a story that was critical of Cheney's work, particularly with respect to Iran. The International Republican Institute, a grants program administered by Cheney's unit in collaboration with a Republican-affiliated foundation, received particular scrutiny. The Times maintained that when the group became controversial, with critics saying that it was plotting covert actions that could escalate into war with Iran and Syria, the group was disbanded, by May 2006. Shortly before the ISOG group was dissolved, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice initiated a major effort to engage Iran and Syria in efforts to stabilize Iraq. As late as April 11, 2009, Iranian officials investigating "cyber-crimes" cited Cheney's efforts in the daily newspaper Iran, specifically the "Democracy Program" [sic], as parallel to a Netherlands-funded push for a "velvet revolution" accomplished by a media campaign to polarize the country, "despite the 1981 Algiers Accords signed between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of the U.S. embassy takeover in Tehran."
Cheney signed on in June 2007 as one of three national co-chairs of Fred Thompson's 2008 presidential campaign. The others were Spencer Abraham and George Allen. In a press release issued at the beginning of his campaign, Thompson said he was "very pleased to announce that former Senators Abraham and Allen, as well as Liz Cheney, will serve as co-chairs of my national leadership team." He added: "These distinguished individuals bring wise counsel and invaluable experience to my campaign leadership team, and they will play a critical role in helping spread my consistent conservative message across America." After Thompson dropped out of the race, Cheney announced on January 27, 2008, that she would work for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign as a senior foreign policy advisor.
H. L. (Bud) Goodall Jr. has called Cheney a "conspiracy propagandist". She has defended proponents of Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories. In 2009, she gave the keynote address at a dinner hosted by the Center for Security Policy, a conspiracy-oriented SPLC-designated hate group led by Frank Gaffney.
In October 2009, Liz Cheney, William Kristol, and Deborah Burlingame launched, as board members, the nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization Keep America Safe. The group's stated purpose is to "provide information for concerned Americans about critical national security issues". It drew strong criticism from conservative lawyers, many of whom had worked for the Bush administration, after its campaign against "The Al Qaeda 7", seven Justice Department lawyers in the Obama administration who previously had worked as defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainees. Shortly after, all information about the organization disappeared from the Internet.
Cheney's relationship with her younger sister Mary Cheney publicly suffered after Liz stated in her 2014 Senate campaign that she does not support same-sex marriage. In response, Mary Cheney denounced her sister's remarks, writing in a Facebook post that "[e]ither [y]ou think all families should be treated equally or you don't. Liz's position is to treat my family as second class citizens." Her wife Heather Poe wrote a Facebook post stating, "Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012—she didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least." Mary said she would not support her sister's candidacy, and in 2015, when asked if she and her sister had mended their relationship, she said, "I don't have to answer that."
In January 2012, Cheney was hired as a contributor for Fox News. She guest-hosted programs such as Hannity and Fox News Sunday. The network terminated her contract in July 2013 after she announced her intention to mount a 2014 bid for the Senate in Wyoming.
In 2013, Cheney announced her opposition to same-sex marriage.
In August 2013, conservative Newsmax magazine named Cheney among the "25 most influential women in the GOP".
Cheney's campaign was marred by criticism from her championing of hawkish foreign policy positions to a public spat with her sister Mary over her vocal opposition to same-sex marriage. Enzi's continuing popularity made it difficult for Cheney to make inroads with Wyoming Republican voters. On January 6, 2014, Cheney announced she had withdrawn from the race, citing family health issues.
After incumbent Cynthia Lummis announced her retirement in the Fall of 2015, Cheney announced she was considering running for her seat in 2016. It is the same seat her father occupied for ten years. On February 1, 2016, Cheney announced her candidacy for Wyoming's lone seat in the House. She was widely considered the frontrunner for the seat, and a poll commissioned by the Casper Star-Tribune and Wyoming PBS showed her leading in the Republican primary–the real contest in this heavily Republican state. Oil tycoon Simon Kukes contributed to her campaign. She was elected with over 60% of the vote in the general election.
Cheney was sworn into office on January 3, 2017. She co-sponsored legislation that would end protection for grey wolves in the Endangered Species Act.
On March 7, 2019, Cheney joined 22 Republican representatives in opposing HR183 which condemned "anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance" and "anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry." Critics of the bill cites their concern with it being too broad, as it was initially meant to chastise comments made by Ilhan Omar, and her name and comments were removed from the bill.
In May 2019, Cheney said that Peter Strzok and another FBI agent who sent personal text messages where they disparaged various politicians (including President Donald Trump) sounded as if they were planning a "coup" and may be guilty of "treason".
In June 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared the holding centers for illegal immigrants at the Mexico–United States border to "concentration camps". Cheney strongly criticized her words, saying they showed "disrespect" for Holocaust victims.
Speaking as Chairwoman at a House Republican Conference in August 2019, Cheney stated that the successful litigation (Crow Tribe et al v. Zinke) by Native tribes and environmentalists to return the grizzly bear in Greater Yellowstone to the Endangered Species Act "was not based on science or facts” but motivated by plaintiffs “intent on destroying our Western way of life." Her statements drew comments from indigenous tribal nations and environmentalists. Tribal nations hold the grizzly to be sacred and they and environmentalists have voiced concerns about trophy hunts, livestock and logging interests, and the gas, coal, and oil extraction industries.
At a House Republican Conference in July 2020, Cheney was criticized by some fellow Republicans, including Jim Jordan of Ohio and Andy Biggs of Arizona, for defending Dr. Fauci, amidst the COVID pandemic, and for previously endorsing Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie's primary opponent.
In September 2020, Cheney asked the Justice Department to investigate environmental groups such as the NRDC, Sea Change and the Sierra Club, saying that "robust political and judicial activism—combined with the fact that these groups often espouse views that align with those of our adversaries—makes it all the more critical that the Department is aware of any potential foreign influence within or targeting these groups. I urge the Department to investigate Chinese and Russian attempts to influence environmental and energy policy in the United States".
On January 12, 2021, following the storming of the United States Capitol during the certification process for President-elect Joe Biden, Cheney announced she would vote to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the storming. Cheney said that Trump "lit the flame" of the riot and did nothing to stop it. Saying that "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath", she announced her support for impeachment. Nine other Republicans joined her in doing so on January 13. She was by far the highest-ranking Republican to vote for impeachment.