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In a move that will spark speculation about her potential national ambitions, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming will headline an awards dinner later this autumn in New Hampshire, the state that for a century has held the first presidential primary in the race for the White House.
Cheney, one of the most well-known and vocal members of the small group of GOP lawmakers and leaders opposed to former President Trump, will be the featured speaker at the annual Nackey S. Loeb School’s First Amendment Honors program on Nov. 9. The former president and his allies have backed a primary challenger to Cheney when she’s up for reelection next year as Trump aims to oust Cheney from Congress.
The school was named after its founder, the late publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader. New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, which was first to report the Cheney visit, noted that the event “honors individuals or groups who have in some extraordinary way exercised or sought to protect the Constitution’s First Amendment rights of free speech, assembly, press, religion or government petition.”
Cheney, in a statement, said she was honored to participate.
“Protecting our First Amendment freedoms is at the heart of our responsibility as elected officials,” Cheney wrote. “I look forward to helping to recognize New Hampshire citizens and organizations who are working to defend those freedoms.”
The event will be held for the first time at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, which has become a must-stop for White House hopefuls over the past two decades.
“In recent times, no other American figure has been closer to the freedom afforded by the First Amendment than Rep. Cheney,” Neil Levesque, the institute’s executive director, told Fox News in a statement. “It is a testament to the Nackey Loeb School’s national reach that she is coming to speak.”
Trump was a past featured speaker at the event. His headlining of the gala in the autumn of 2014 was one of his first trips to New Hampshire as he began exploring a potential run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Cheney, in April, didn’t close any doors to a potential 2024 White House run.
“I’m not going to rule anything in or out. Ever is a long time,” the third-ranking GOP lawmaker in the House of Representatives told the New York Post in an interview. Cheney, who at the time was attending the House Republican retreat in Orlando, Florida, was asked if she’d consider a 2024 presidential bid.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was the most senior of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters, who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of Trump’s presidential election defeat to now-President Biden.
Cheney immediately came under verbal attack by Trump and his allies, but in February she easily crushed an effort by Trump loyalists in the House to dump her from her leadership position as House Republican Conference chair.
Trump continued to target Cheney as well as the other nine House Republicans who voted to impeach him and the seven GOP senators who voted to convict him in his impeachment trial in February. And in May she was ousted from her No. 3 House GOP Republican leadership position.
Cheney has been very vocal in emphasizing the importance of defending the nation’s democratic process and in May gave a well-covered speech in the House chamber about putting love and defense of the country above partisan politics. She’s one of only two Republicans serving on a special committee organized by House Democrats to investigate the insurrection at the Capitol.
Stepping up his efforts to oust Cheney, Trump earlier this month backed one of the candidates hoping to defeat Wyoming’s at-large House member in next year’s election. The former president endorsed lawyer and former gubernatorial candidate Harriet Hageman, writing in a release put out by his political action committee that “Harriet is all in for America First.”
After Trump pilloried Cheney as “the Democrats number one provider of soundbites,” she fired back on Twitter, writing, “Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it.”
After making his endorsement, Trump and his allies successfully urged some, but not all, of the other anti-Cheney candidates to drop out of the primary and coalesce around Hageman.
The attacks this year by Trump have fueled Cheney’s fundraising. She raised a record $1.5 million during the first three months of the year, and as Fox News first reported, the congresswoman topped that with a roughly $1.9 million haul during the April-June second quarter of fundraising. Former Republican House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan have helped raise campaign cash for Cheney.
Former President George W. Bush will headline a fundraiser for Cheney in Texas next month.
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