“There’s a real tragedy that’s occurring, and the tragedy is there are politicians in this country, beginning with Donald Trump, who have lied to the American people. People have been betrayed. He has consistently said the election is stolen when it wasn’t ,” Cheney said in the debate broadcast by Wyoming PBS ahead of the August 16 primary.
She added: “We are now embracing a cult of personality. I won’t be part of that, and I will always stand for my oath and stand for the truth.”
Cheney went on the attack early in the debate, pointing out that Hageman’s campaign had hired the consulting firm of Bill Stepien, Trump’s former campaign manager. Stepien, Cheney noted, had told the committee he was happy to be part of “team normal” in the wake of Trump’s loss in the 2020 election, as Trump and some of his allies began spreading lies and conspiracy theories about vote fraud.
“I’d be interested to know whether or not my opponent, Ms. Hageman, is willing to say here tonight that the election was not stolen. She knows it’s not stolen,” Cheney said.
However, Cheney said that doing so would cost Hageman Trump’s endorsement. “If she says it wasn’t stolen, he will not support her,” the congresswoman said.
Hageman made several false claims about the 2020 election, citing the “2000 Mules” film that peddles conspiracy theories about ballot drop boxes and “Zuckerberg money” — a reference to donations from the charity of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan , to help local elections officials navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
“They are simply not true. It is not true that there was sufficient fraud to change the results of the 2020 election. The President’s own attorney general has said that, the President’s own deputy attorney general has said that and, I mean, President Trump — President Trump’s campaign manager said that; President Trump’s White House counsel said that; President Trump’s own family said that.”