tv Rep. Cheney Gives Constitution Day Speech CSPAN September 20, 2022 5:51am-7:00am EDT
>> next republican presented of it liz cheney delivers the annual constitution day lecture at the american enterprise institute. representative cheney continues to be critical of our own party for its ongoing support of president trump in the aftermath of the january 6 attack at the u.s. capitol. she will be leading congress after the midterm elections, having lost the wyoming primary to a candidate endorsed by the former president.
lecturer. for some time, aei has held this lecture to give a platform for defenders of the u.s. constitution. in doing so we celebrate dr. burns, the late scholar, and carry on his work among our nations founding virtues. long before he became our greatest president abraham lincoln addressed the crowd in springfield, illinois. at that time, mob violence between abolitionists and their enemies was rampant and often retribution replaced justice. lincoln gave direct instructions to his fellow countrymen. let every american, every lover of liberty swear by the blood of the revolution never to violate the laws of the country. and never to tolerate their violation by others. the aei scholar wrote resident
lincoln's words provided a straightforward two word answer to the unrest of his time. absolute law abiding citizens. to lincoln, lawlessness cannot be tolerated. lincoln's antidote to widespread disregard to the rule of law is a feeling of reverence to help the body of law. because of rights and freedoms our laws protect. over the last two years, lawlessness has played a growing and increasingly accepted role in public life. we have seen prosecutors unwilling to press charges against mobs that burned homes and businesses in our cities. there has been an increasing use of a violence and threats of violence against lytic opponents. there has been a breakdown of the role of law in her immigration practices and procedures. we have seen a refusal to accept the results of a lawfully conducted election.
not far from here the façade of the justice department building reads law alone can give us freedom. i have known those words for a long time. to me they are the key to how our nation has resolved crisis. from the whiskey rebellion to the civil war, the revolution to the civil rights movement, to the successful reduction of crime in america's cities in the 1990's. the rule of law makes liberty and prosperity possible. if we undermined the rule of law , we place our experiment in self-government at risk. so, it is with resident lincoln's words and example in informing us that we welcome representative liz cheney to aei this evening. hold on. [laughter] representative cheney knows the importance of the rule of law, how essential it is to our freedom. she has taken positions based on that principle.
in congress she has defended the constitutional order that makes our liberty possible. that's why i am proud to welcome her to the stage to deliver her 2022 walter burns constitution lecture. representative cheney. [applause] rep. cheney: thank you very much. thank you. thank you so much, robert, it's always wonderful to be at rep. cheney: --aei. it's wonderful to see friends in the audience, aei is a place, that has been at the forefront of conservative thoughts and policies for decades. it's a place that the cheney family has been associated with for many years and it is a particular honor for me tonight
that my mother and father are here with us in the audience. i don't see them. [applause] i don't know why they made you guys sit alone over there. i was getting ready for this evening, it occurred to me that i have been through a number of stressful moments in my life but giving a constitution day speech with lynn cheney in the audience may well top the list. but it is an honor, it's an honor to be here tonight and tell my parents tonight and my wonderful husband was here as well. thank you very much. robert's opening remarks about the address, obviously strikes home for all of us for a number of reasons. actually, on january 6, as i
walked into the room where we were being evacuated to, my phone beeped. i was her save me a text message from a young woman, jen is here. wow, hi. i didn't know jenna was going to be here this evening. she sent me the address, as we were being evacuated. the notion of the reverence for law is one that i think of often. and i also, think about what it means to be a patriot. since this is the walter burns lecture, was looking back at professor burns' wonderful book called making patriots in which he gives us this definition of a patriot. he said the patriot has to be more than a citizen or mere inhabitant of a nation. he has to be devoted to his nation and prepared to defend it.
over the last 20 months or so, all of us have had the occasion, more occasion then we would have imagined to think abo wcitizenst ea to live are in our history today, i think it is important to remember that most people and most times in history have not lived in freedom or have the opportunities we have had to decide who leads us, to decide how our laws are written in what those laws are, or to control their destiny. before i was elected to congress, i spent a good deal of my career working around the world in countries that either were not free or had been free and it was fleeting. or in the case of some countries that have previously been behind the iron curtain, that are just
learning what it meant to be free. i've had the opportunity to see firsthand, how powerful and also how fragile freedom is. i've stood outside a polling place in kenya, as an election observer, almost 30 years ago. we watched as men and women, filed up to vote, and government soldiers arrived and chased them away. we thought to ourselves on this bipartisan election observation team, we're not going have anything to see because the voting is going to happen here. and about an hour later, people started streaming back in again. because they were willing to risk everything for the right to vote. i sat across the table in 1992 in russia. from a young man who loved freedom. a young man who believed in freedom and believed in freedom for his people. a young man named daschle he
wanted his citizens to be free. he was later assassinated by vladimir putin's thugs because he posed such a threat to putin because of his dedication to freedom. i worked in kyiv. i worked with young people trying help their country throw off the shackles of the arun curtain and of -- iron curtain and of soviet domination. one of those young women became the finance mr. of ukraine. where all -- we are all defending the ukrainians as they are on the front lines of the battle for freedom. they are engaged in a war they must win, a war that the world needs ukrainians to win. and we must help them. i've had three people in my life tell me that it was the words of ronald reagan in the model of america that led them to seek freedom here. one was an immigrant who grew up in castro's totalitarian regime.
another was another young man who grew up behind the iron curtain and became his country's minister of defense. he told me he was secretly listen to ronald reagan speeches at night, finish television and he understood america was a place he wanted to be. i've known a man who spent years in the soviet go log -- who said it was a miracle of america and our freedom that convinced him what was possible, convinced him what he needed to strive for. i've seen the power of faith and freedom. i was in kenya in 1985, when pope john paul ii spoke. a few years later, i was with my mom and dad at the vatican. my dad was the vice president. pope john grabbed my dad's hands shook it. he said to him, god bless america. i know god has left america. we all know that we are incredibly blessed.
but this freedom we have been blessed with, that has been defended and guaranteed by our constitution only survived if we recognize threats to the threat -- these threats to freedom when they arrive. we are facing such a threat today. it's a threat we have never faced before. the former president, who is attempting to unravel our constitutional republic. we are, to this day, living to the impacts, of a president who has abandoned his oath. if you think about her history, we've had presidents of both parties, men of goodwill, so much better than others, but all who fulfilled their old -- oath. all except for one. we must be clear, in this time of testing. at this time of challenge, when men and women in positions of public trust, defend the indefensible and make excuses for donald trump, they
compromise the principals of our democratic republic. and each individual compromise to defend the conduct of one man, incrementally changes that republic. excusing behavior that is clearly wrong or unlawful, erodes the rule of law. it chips away at our nations foundation. and make no mistake, once this conduct is excused, it becomes permissible. think about the trajectory of the moment. the elected leaders of the republican party, downplay the violence of january 6. they demand that all others do the same. this has become a litmus test. it's as if the hundreds of serious injuries to capitol, police officers were inconsequential. over past year, i have spent
considerable time with the capitol police. some of whom are in this room tonight. i can definitively tell you they defended this nation, they prevented a far worse constitutional tragedy, and i can tell you how they feel about what happened that day. the same leaders who tried to minimize the violence also sometimes try to rationalize president trump's refusal to instruct his orders to leave the capital when the attack was underway. i hope you all heard the testimony in our select committee hearings, of pat cipollone, corroborated by others on president trump's white house staff. testimony that president trump was the only person who refused to respond to the desperate calls for help, even from his own congressional allies. he refused to come to their aid.
if you watched our hearings closely, you know that mike pence was essentially the president for most of that day. white house staff knew it, so did every other republican and democratic leader leigh washington. ho -- in washington. how could donald trump's refusal to act, his betrayal of our republic, our constitution, our principles, come with no costs? many of the same elected officials who rationalize donald trump's conduct also continue to spread the toxic lie that the 2020 election was stolen. even though they know that is a line. for anyone who is remotely on the fence about that issue, i urge you to download and watch our second hearing from the select committee last june. listen to what the republicans on president trump's campaign in his justice department, his might house -- white house, listen to what they all said. they said his claims were false.
they were complete bs. he knew it, they told him, we all knew it. we also, today, are watching members of my party excuse trump's decision to ignore the rulings of more than 60 courts, as if those rulings were irrelevant. apparently, in this view, our president is no longer obligated to faithfully execute the laws of the united states as required by the u.s. constitution. future president -- will future presidents respect the role if we excuse this behavior donald trump? some leaders argue that the vice president of the u.s. can reject or refuse to count electoral votes and thereby select the president. this is illegal absurdity. no honest person, with any legal training, we believe that. but now, this view is embraced
by millions and promoted by those who know it is false. some elected republicans even defend president trump's decision summon tens of thousands to washington and knowing that they were angry and knowing that many were armed instruct them to march to the capital. -- capitol. it is in this view, to ignore the fact that the white house ignored intelligence that those coming to washington intended to invade the capitol and occupy it. everyone of us, everyone, watching what president trump was doing and saying, i knew the violence was likely. many now pretend it was a surprise. on top of all of that, those who are protecting donald trump elected leaders of my party are now willing to condemn fbi agent's department of justice
officials, and pretend taking top-secret, fbi documents and keeping them in a desk drawer in an office in mar-a-lago or an unsecured location anywhere was somehow not a problem. they are attempting to excuse this behavior. they are attempting to say it was normal, that it was a storage issue. a number of people in this room have worked and national secured he in our federal government. you all know this is a grave problem. apparently, the department of justice has evidence that donald trump lied about having these documents and he lied repeatedly. this has now become excusable too. if you judge by the actions of the elected officials in my party. does defending donald trump now mean excusing?
how many of our elected officials today are willing to do that? excused by excuse we are putting trump above the law. we are rendering indefensible conduct, normal, legal and appropriate, as though he were a king. now, donald trump has been suggesting not even subtly, that any legal action against him can result in violence. our former president is suggesting that if he is prosecuted, his supporters should stand up to our constitutional order and the rule of law, stand up and do whatever means are needed to prevent his prosecution. prevent the application of the law. it is hard to see this as anything but a direct threat to our constitution, to our republic. and a credible one at that. one can only wonder, is this where the republican party will go next? prosecution is inappropriate
because maga will violently oppose it. all of us have an obligation to acknowledge what is happening. those activities that i have just listed for you, those are the erosion of the rule of law. they are the undermining of our constitutional system. our constitutional system has been defended and handed down to us by every generation, since 1789. it comes to us with the duty of inheritance. it doesn't belong to us. it belongs to our children, and our grandchildren. we must not be the generation that allows it to unravel. my friends, i say this to you as a conservative, i believe deeply in conservative policies. i believe in limited government. i believe in low taxes. i believe in a strong national defense. i believe that the family has got to be the central building block of our society. i share the concerns that many
of us, many of you have, justifiable concerns, about radical liberalism and about woke-ness. but those concerns cannot justify what the republican party is doing now. the means do not justify the ends. this is how democracy fails. that cannot happen and it must not happen. stopping this erosion requires men and women of good will, showing courage and remembering that no office is worth holding if you enable, through your actions or inactions of the dismantling of the republic. all issues must be about politics. we have an obligation to preserve the structure of our constitution and our nation. exactly what many of us have sworn to do before god. that requires leadership.
over the last one he months, we have seen acts of cowardice, we have seen acts of craven, political ambition. we've also seen incredible acts of courage and valor and patriotism. we must choose courage. we must choose the constitution. i want to leave you tonight, with one other thought, last month, on a beautiful summer night, on a ranch outside of cody, wyoming. i happen to be speaking to the mother of 11 children. now, i have five children. and i can attest that is a lot of kids. [laughter] i stood in silent awe of this mother of 11. she pulled me aside and she paid me what might be the highest compliment i can imagine. she said to me, " i think you
fight so hard for this country because you have a mothers love for her". it was such a moving and humbling idea. and it's one that every single one of us, whether we are parents are not understand. we love our country. to paraphrase lincoln, we love her not just because she is ours, we love her because she is free. millions of us are dedicated to ensuring that our children and their children and here tremendous blessing of freedom. thank you very much. god bless you all. god bless america. [applause]
>> now you're getting me sentimental. let me extend, a welcome to both people here but also people watching on television and online. of course to representative cheney for remarkable remarks in helping us celebrate this constitution day lecture. the constitution itself. i am gary smith, senior fellow here at aei on constitutional studies. not as some of my younger colleagues like to say a very senior fellow. i'm just a senior fellow. [laughter] i am moderating the question-and-answer session, like every good moderator i will take the prerogative of asking a few questions to begin with. but i will turn to our guests here very shortly to have you
participate in this event. just a couple of housekeeping matters to start, when we turn to you for questions, if you would please wait for a mic, so we can clear questions and also introduce yourself and your affiliation. the second piece of housekeeping is, when we finish, a few -- as they for a moment until representative cheney, and vice president cheney and misses cheney can leave the room. there's very nice wine and cheese reception afterwards. if you behave yourself, you get more. [laughter] anyway, thank you. that was quite remarkable. i have a whole list of a softball questions. one of the things i want to start off with this, one of my
areas of expertise is the american presidencies and the situation. one of the things my co-author and i have written about in the past is trying to understand article two, the text, because it's very confusing. you have a long section one, a semi-long section two, alyssa powers. section three, coupled together with a list of authorities. then there's the impeachment provisions. joe and i, through course that we had from graduate school, we developed a correct account of the article two, what it means is that article two is framed by both powers and duties. it permeates the whole text. i think often we forget both as
scholars but also as practitioners just how the framers friend to have the articles defined. that's part of the discussion that is been lost over the years. i'm glad you made your point of making that to the floor again. question. kind of an academic question but one martin van buren and first -- [laughter] he was hoping for a softball. when he first really put in place and gave logic to modern political parties, the whole hope was that the party structure would reduce the amount of politicians being defined by their personalities and character. you would cabinet public -- cabin and a politician by having party principles that extend -- you're never going to escape
individual politicians, individual personalities. but one of the things that is most striking in this day and era is it is the less of the party defining what the president stands for than the president capturing a nomination of a party. if he wins the presidency he ends up defining a party. is this the reverse of what was originally expected? do you think that is accurate? is there any remedies to moderate or reverse that tendency? rep. cheney: well. if if we start with martin van buren. [laughter] it's a really important question. i think we see it not just with the presidency, we see it
throughout all levels of the party. i low -- i know the republican party best. there are couple of real challenges that we face and a couple of things we need to do to fix those challenges. one is the abandonment of substance. those party platforms and what party you stand for has to mean something. we don't just believe these things because the party we are a member of believes these things. we believe in a conservative philosophy and principles, because they are the ones we believe are the right ones for the nation. there are a whole host of incentives now that discourage substance in our elected officials. i really welcome it when we are going to have a debate or
discussion in the house, if the person who was on the others of the debate from me, there are members that will have prepared, i know that they will have good arguments. i know they will have been thoughtful. those debates are wonderful. we learn something and it forces everybody to be at the top of their game because you have to be able to advocate for your position. i think the incentives right now in our politics really run against that substance. and i think it's an obligation will have to make sure we are electing serious people. and make sure that that is at the forefront as he think about how your casting your vote, we need people who are serious. the challenges we face are serious. if you demand excellence in other areas of her life and if you demand excellence when you're hiring people for other jobs, you should demand excellence from your officials.
i think, the party structures have developed in ways i'm sure people could not have anticipated. and i think it when i look at the republican party now, we certainly are in a position where the embrace, principles and standing for substance has taken a backseat to the embrace of an individual. i think that's very dangerous. gary: it reminds me, now going to sound like the old man, get off my lawn, chronic questions. when i worked in the senate, every member, both in the house and senate said they had three balls. it was the representative function for districts or stats. es -- estates. finally, you remember the political party, they don't
always fit together very well. but people try keep them balanced as best as they could. i get the sense today that two of those items have been reduced quite a bit. it's a political party's for the next election that dominates membership and also, even the representative function. it's harder to do. i'm not sure if that is true but it seems like when i talk to those on the hill. rep. cheney: i think it's true. you have to divide up in my view, how these offices function in normal times and how that office's members divide up their time. i think that is a separate set of questions from how members responded to january 6. and they're connected because
the response to january 6 ended up in too many instances being about politics when it needed to be about the constitution. i'm not a fan of term limits. term limits are probably unconstitutional for members of congress. but i can understand why the idea of -- of something like that is necessary to get members, to take action that they are bound by their both -- oath to take, even if it is difficult for them politically, that's very sad commentary on where we are. i had one of my colleagues, who i will not name, say to me a few months ago, you know what, it's just about survival, you just gotta survive.
and it can't be. if it's just about survival, then we will all collectively not survive as a republic. that's very important. gary: i was remembering that when the watergate committee was formed, the vote to form was 77-0. there were people that abstained, but there was nobody who said no. compared to how it was with the january 6 committee, it striking. i promise i will be a moderator. let me turn to -- >> thank you congresswoman for coming, i am tim with aei in the washington examiner. he spoke about systemic and gaseous systemic problems. -- systemic problems. what did the republican party,
particularly republican elected officials, do wrong that ended up giving us trump in 2016? rep. cheney: gosh. i'd rather talk about martin van buren. [laughter] look, i think that there -- i don't agree with the idea that somehow trump was a natural outcome of something else. again, to me, i think the discussion and debate about his rise and how that happened, i think there are some things we should be able to agree on. and one thing we should be able to agree on is that after january 6, that should have been the end. and whether or not you think,
well, the republican should have done more, i think the democratic party contributed when you have policies that are so extreme, people are driven away, alternatives might not have been acceptable for become acceptable. for us as a country, those are important questions, to understand what happened over the last four or five years in particular. i also think, the clarity of saying, look, on january 6, it was before, it was as the election was over and the president lost 61 of 62 cases and refused to accept the results and continued to refuse to accept the results. it became clear that this was something we had not faced
before. when he understood that the mob was armed and instructed them to march the capitol, for 187 minutes would not tell them to leave, that is, with such clarity, obviously the worst dereliction of duty and violation of an oath of office from any president in history. i think an equally important question is how is it that the party continues in so many instances with increased devotion to wrap their arms around him? why is that happening now. i think, one of the things that is so important for people to understand is, you can't sit silently. you can't say, well, i'm just going to ignore what is happening now and hope for the
best and hope it goes away. in the courtroom, on january 6, before the attack happened, i was working on my remarks. i was supposed to speak that they. there were sheets of paper laid out on the desks. i asked one of the staffers, what are these sheets of paper? members were coming in and signing them. and this person said to me and -- those are the objection sheets. it is only required that one house member reject. there were so many that wanted to show they were objecting, that they set up the sign up sheets. and as i was sitting there, a member came in and he signed his name on each one of the sheets. then he said, under his breath, the things we do for the orange jesus. [laughter] i thought, you know, you're
taking an active that is unconstitutional. that's the most imperative and perilous question we have now, how do we get back to a place where we have a party that is focused on these conservative principles of substance and ids? that's a long answer to a different question than you asked. [laughter] >> but it is striking. there's a recent axios poll. one in three americans that were polled, said they preferred a strong unelected leader to a we ak elected leader. now, i can imagine may be the 1930's, during the great
depression you may have gone similar numbers. but we are not in a great depression. we may have our problems, but that is a remarkable -- rep. cheney: it is. i think, more than partly, it's driven by the fact that we do not, as walter berns said, we don't make patriots anymore. we don't learn about her history. we don't teach why this is an exceptional nation. we end up with a citizenry that too often doesn't understand the value of what we have. we'll take it for granted. i think that is part of the challenge of this moment too. it's easy to say, gosh, we're the u.s., we couldn't really be under threat from this unraveling that i talked about.
but, we really are. we have to face it. this is another place where, as i've been thinking about american history and how important it is to teach american history, and looking back and realizing, we have been talking about this for 40 years. [laughter] much better. >> hi. i'm abe, a senior fellow at hudson institute. i wanted to continue on this question of the political parties. it strikes me that both are really in bad shape as parties, to do the kinds of things that gary was talking about. the republican party, runs this risk of becoming a personality
cult. the democratic party seems to be very uncertain and has fundamental disagreements. which leads me to think, it is true that all of our institutions are -- our electoral institutions pushes us to a two-party systems. the republican party started as a third-party. it wasn't there before 1852. within eight years at. . won the presidential election. i'm just wondering what are your thoughts on the proper political stance of someone as yourself in terms of what the next steps are in terms of the possibility of a third party or third-party candidates? rep. cheney: i think, third-party, for all the reasons
impact we can have. my recent experience is as a member of the house and you watch the partisanship on both sides. big issues come up and the question is not often enough let's talk about the substance of the issue. the question is usually what are the talking points so i can go bash the other side? and that doesn't work and you don't get the best policy, you don't get the best outcomes. i don't know that a third party is the answer. i would hope that the republican party can return to some sanity and that the democratic party can too. i really -- i think that there are millions of people around the country who are not reflexively partisan and do not want to imbrace the fringe of either party.
i think for the republicans unfortunately, right now, the fringe is in charge and is dangerous but i think the -- you know, i'm not ready to sort of abandon that and i think we really do need to focus on getting back to substance in policy and on both sides. >> my boss pointed out, both parties seem tock determined to be minority parties. [laughter] nobody is reaching out seemingly to the middle. there's some dynamic here that's really underlying that is really quite fundamentally difficult. so, back here. >> thank you. hi. will hahn. m.i.a. resident fello -- i'm a resident fellow here. thank you for coming and thank you -- for your courage.
you made two baseline arguments. one is a lethal he broke the law argument and the other is more principal based argument. both cons delusional based arguments. -- constitutional based ampling ash arguments. what tends to resonate with people? rep. cheney: that's a very good question. one people that people people no matter wherer in on the political action is the lack of taking action to tell a mob to go home and when you think about and watch the videos of what was happening at the come while the attack was underway and you step back from even the political piece of it. and you think about the total lack of humidity for someone -- humanity -- the only one, frankly, who was in a position to say stop, tell them to leave
that he wouldn't do it when people are pleading with him. that isn't a partisan thing at all. what type of a human being are we talking about? your question also points out something very important, which is it really matters who reelect. and on the committee we are very focused on our legislative purpose. you may have seen that -- and i introducerd legislation earlier today to reform the elect ram count act and i want to be very clear that this is to prevent future attacks duringelection processes but judge carter i think said it very well. when he indicated that, you know, president trump and john eastman more likely than not violated the law. so no one should take our effort to reform the electoral count as any indication that donald trump did not violate the existing law or did not violate the cons
ties -- constitution. but congress has a really important set of duties and obligations but if you elect people who don't respect the guardrails of our democracy or people who don't respect the rulings of the courts, then, you know, trying to somehow -- trying to prevent fundamental assault on the republic becomes very difficult. we depend upon people of good faith in these offices and i think we've seen that certainly more than ever before over the course of the last 18 months or so. >> i was a right-handed pitcher in baseball so my tendency is to do this. over here, please. yeah, please, right here. he shares my hairstyle.
>> pete of the trinity forum. first, thanks, liz, for your courage. john kennedy said there's a reason pro files in courage is a slim volume but off chapter in it and that matters a lot. rep. cheney: thank you. >> i wanted to ask you. i think for a lot of people, where donald trump has gone is not particularly surprising. he is a person with a disordered personality, so for him to go where he's gone is not a shock. i do think for a lot of people that the republican party went with him is something of a shock. so it's a two-part question, connected. the first is when did it dawn on you that there was no stopping point for this iteration of the republican party? whether it was before the election or the election or january 7 and the second is, i'm
sure you've given thought, like a lot of people have, which is what is going on exactly? how would you explain that a political party, particularly one that had the roots that brought you and i to it, would go to this place in which you went through in your speech. no amount of evidence, no amount of facts seems to persuade the vast majority. sit something about the republican party? something about political psychology, something about human name? the reason i ask is in some ways if we don't understand what it is we're dealing with, it's difficult to know exactly how to get out. >> you thought my martin van buren question was -- [laughter] rep. cheney: i feel like i have to have a 17-point answer. [laughter] i think on your first question,
it became clear, you know, i think some point into the third week of november that there were these massive -- these claims that are being made publicly in press conferences about 1/2 fraud that were not being backed up with any evidence and at about that point i put out a statement essentially saying if you have evidence that there was massive fraud then you need to produce it. otherwise you have to respect the outcome of the election, respect the sanctity of the election process and i do think that after the election, there were moments where people thought it will definitely be over at this moment. december 14th when the electoral college meets, it will definitely be over and then it kept not being over and then certainly then we all saw what
happened on if sixth and i do think that there was a period of time after the 6th when the party could have rescued itself and when the leaders of our party could have rescued the party and there was a moment right after the 6th when, if kevin mccarthy had said this is completely unacceptablable, this will not happen, we are going to -- clearly this was an impeachable offense and, you know, we need to look to the future. we're going to impeach. he should have been convicted. you know, if that had happened, we would be living in a very different country right now but instead, kevin mccarthy decided to go to mar-a-lago and welcome donald trump back into the party before january was even over, i believe, and so i think then you just saw a whole series of events where, instead of taking
what should have been the obvious approach of saying this is not part of american politics. violence can't be part of our politics. presidents leave office if they lose. this cannot happen. you know, our party went down the other path and in many ways, it's gotten worse. you know, there certainly are polls that you see that xiao that the former president's support in the party is declining in some cases but his open advocacy for what happened on january 6th, his suggestion that there might be violence if he's prosecuted, his suggestion that he would pardon all the people that attacked the capitol on the 6th and pretty much silence from the leadership of the party. so i think that -- i think we'll have to look back. it will take a long time to understand how this could have happened.
i think one of the reasons why lincoln'sed a mo in addition that threats will arise from within is so true is because when threats arise from within they are disorienting and it's very hard to understand how this could have happened. how it could be that so many people actually don't think they're oath matters. but it is a lesson that we have to hold, you know, and if we don't, it's at our own peril. >> hi, paul -- you know me. one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history was sandy koufax, despite a very short career, and he was a left-hander. >> i didn't say i was great. [laughter] >> neither did i. [laughter] i'd like to put in a short
personal commercial. i'm very proud to know you, liz. proud to call you a friend. very proud to have worked with your wonderful father and to know your mother so well and i mow -- know how principled your father was on issues like ukrainian insurance more than 20 years ago. so i'm not surprised his daughter turned out principled as well. i'd like to ask a question, believe it or not, about foreign policy. rep. cheney: that's so unlike you, paul. [laughter] >> i know, i was shocked. in that incredible speech that a 20-year-old state representative has such impressions about what can grow wrong in this country if we don't respect the constitution. he said there was no way anyone was going to come across the ocean and attack us. what is pressurent, he said
there were certain men, maybe he meant women too, who aspire to greatness in glory. for them that's not enough to have a seat in the senate or even the white house. for them, they seek immortal film and if they have to get it by freeing slaves they'll do that, which might have been reflecting his own ambition but if they have to do it by enslaving free men, they'll do that also, the goal is glory. i think what we face in china, this is a man who appears to be the greatest man in -- emperor in chinese history. even greater nan mao. she is the modern mao. the new thinking far new century. it's an incredibly ambitious
goal and it's a goal that involves making china the supreme power in the world and in the process, i believe, weakening every other country that could be a competitor and there's no question which one he wants to see go down as our previous president would have called ass hole countryings. and in that respect abraham was absolutely right, that is the real danger to us. we are going down that chute at the exact time with our greatest adversary. hitler couldn't cross the seas and get hollywood to censor movies he didn't like. he couldn't go to the nba and get them to kick out players that were criticizing germany. xi must be drinking toasts to our previous president every time heavy gets a chance. end of question. it is a question. do you agree?
[laughter] rep. cheney: yes. >> next question? [laughter] rep. cheney: look, i think that you've laid out an excellent and accurate description of perhaps the most serious threat that we face internationally and we are right now, you know, faced with trying to meet and confront that threat, i think, without -- in the current administration a full understanding and recognition to have nature of the threat, the extent to which the chinese are clearly attempting to cross every single platform, every single front to defeat us. and, you know, they are at war with us. we have not recognized that. and i also think that when the biden administration takes steps like pulling out of afghanistan
and the way they did it and the fact that they did it, you know, others take note. i think that what's happening with russia and ukraine right now is causes -- causing a lot of renexten by -- reflexen by people like xi, by people who would putin was just going to be able to destroy ukraine. you've seen support there for freedom, and for democracy and it has been very important but there's no doubt -- one thing that people also need to recognize is, if you listen to xi and you listen to what he says about democracy and what he says about ourelection and our process and then you listen to what donald trump says about hourelection and our process, they're the same. they're the same attack.
election in the united states no longer reflect it will of the people. they can't be trusted. our election are awful and i think people need to think about that. we are absolutely not where we need to be in terms of our defense spending, in terms of our strategic approach, in terms of the extent to which our allies can count of us, our role in the world. >> we have time for one more quick question. joana? >> hi, joana with a.i. and also co-founder of the kills patch. rep. cheney: hi, joana. >> i honestly don't know the answer to my own question here but as you stated in your opening remarks, which i agree with entirely. we're all very fortunate that mike pence refused to exceed his constitutional authority by doing what he's not allowed to do, to kick the election out of the house.
in another sense, though, he did exceed his constitutional authority when he, as you also said in your remarks, was essentially president for almost three hours. he was giving orders to the military, he was fulfilling the job that the actual president was derelict on. but the constitution doesn't say the vice president can do that. the vice president doesn't say -- perspective trump was derelict and irmorally responsible. but he wasn't incapacity at a timed. he just refused to do his duty, which is a different thing. howe are we supposed to think about a vice president -- of course, not certain ones in your own family -- rep. cheney: i think he was the best vice president ever. >> for the record. >> i'm not going to get into my
calvin coolidge thing, but if you can imagine a scenario where the vice president starts telling the military what to do, where he should be impeached and sent to prison but because he was doing it for leadership -- how are we supposed to think other than urning what continued trump did to the constitutional order is event worse than what a lot of people are talking about, how are we supposed to think about a vice president, for good reasons, doing something that is not constitutional? realm cheney: i disagree with your characterization of what he was doing this day. i think what you see what mike pension was doing, is what everybody expects donald trump who was in a position to do it was doing. getting on the phone and getting people from, make these people go home, make it stop stoop, what's the response?
i think you saw everybody was doing that that day and i think it would not be accurate to read the constitution to prevent the vice president from doing what everyone was doing which is to say, the capitol is undersiege, we need help. he was in the garage while this was underway. my view of what was happening is mike pence was doing what you would expect anybody that in that situation would do. he was innovate folly issuing orders. he was knot breaching any sort of constitutional obligation. he was simply saying this must stop and keeping people apprised and making sure it did and i think it is important and the reason to think about what he was doing that day is because not a single person in a position of authority who could have taken action to stop what was happening received a phone
call from donald trump. not one. and i think that thinking about why that was, you know, we -- it's very clear that he was attempting to try to delay or stop the counting of electoral votes and it's clear that the mob was accomplishing that objective for a period of time. and so i think that when you look at other people who were involve that would day and the actions they took, they all were acting the way that you would expect them to and i don't believe that at any point, the vice president exceeded his constitutional duties and obligations by saying the capitol is under attack and it needs to stop and we need to get help here. >> thanks. we're going to have to wrap things up and just a reminder, stay seated until representative cheney, the vice president and
mrs. cheney are able to scoot out of the auditorium. but let me conclude by -- sorry. i get last wofford -- you know, one of the -- you mentioned walter burns's "making patriots" and the theme was that making patriots deep citizenship required teaching and we want a country where this naturally occurred, that there was something unique about american citizenship that retired people to remember the principles and understand them and understand. but one of the key things that he always constantly harped on, mostly about lincoln and correctly so, obviously, was that teaching students what you wanted to do was provide them with role models for constitutional statesmanship and that once people understood or
students came to admire and appreciate people who crafted the constitution, helped perpetuate the constitution, you would come in turn to love what they were fighting for so i want to thank you for both being here today but also for the example you've set. walter would be very proud. rep. cheney: thank you very much for saying that. thank you. [applause]
♪ host: a recent nbc poll gave president biden his highest rating since last october. his approval numbers overall have been increasing in the lead up to the november election. in this next hour, your thoughts on the president's approval numbers, if they matter to you and what you think about the november elections when talking about president