News, On Campus

“You Have an Obligation to Make a Difference”: Liz Cheney Urges Students to Run for Office

Former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney addressed an overflowing audience at Boston College on Thursday, stressing that she never doubted former President Donald Trump should be impeached following the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. 

“I knew then because of everything that we had lived through since the election, that we needed to move articles of impeachment against President Trump,” Cheney said. “I believed then as we were being evacuated, that he needed to be removed from office immediately.”

Cheney spoke at BC as part of the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics’ Clough Colloquium. Cheney represented Wyoming’s at-large congressional district in the House of Representatives from 2017 to 2023. She also previously served as the chair of the House Republican Conference, or the third highest-ranking GOP member in the House.

Cheney actively spoke out against the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots and worked as vice chair for the House Select Committee to investigate these attacks. According to Cheney, as long as the Republican Party continues to embrace Trump, it will not be fit to serve its members. 

“As long as the Republican Party instead embraces this dangerous man and perpetuates the lie, then the party will make itself unfit for decent people to support, and that is not good for the country,” Cheney said. “So we have got to get back to a place where we can actually be having debates based upon substantive politics.”

One audience member asked Cheney if she has considered running for president, and Cheney responded that she has not decided yet.

“I haven’t made any decision about that,” Cheney said. “You know, I feel very strongly about where the country needs to go, and I feel very strongly about how important it is that Donald Trump not be president ever again.”

Cheney said one issue the Republican Conference must address is voicing opinions that should not be political. 

“There are some viewpoints and perspectives that must always at all times be outside of the bounds of political debate, and that is a very small number of viewpoints,” Cheney said. “But it includes anti-semitism—it must be rejected—it includes racism, [and] it includes white supremacy.”

When asked about her support of the Iraq War, Cheney maintained that invading Iraq was the right decision, saying that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein posed a threat to democracy.

“I think there’s no question that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power—it doesn’t mean that we got everything right over 20 years,” Cheney said.

Cheney then spoke on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said the United States must provide resources to Ukraine to defeat Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“If the United States does not provide Ukraine with the resources that they need to defeat Putin, then we will, in fact, see that conflict spread and we will see NATO threatened,” Cheney said. “We will see countries across Europe threatened.” 

According to Cheney, the United States must continue to play a leading role in global conflicts, such as the forming China-Russia alliance. Cheney said if the United States does not provide resources to Ukraine, it will embolden China in its relations with Russia.

“Whether we live in a world that’s characterized by freedom, or one that is the kind of surveillance state that the Chinese Communist Party would impose, depends upon American leadership,” Cheney said. “So I believe firmly that we have to lead, that we can’t be isolationist.”

National security is one of Cheney’s top concerns, and she said the United States must maintain a strong defense to protect itself against adversaries. When asked about nuclear zero, a movement dedicated to eliminating nuclear weapons, Cheney said she does not support its mission.  

“Unfortunately, the world in which we live is one where our adversaries have to know that if they ever were to launch an attack against us, that the response would be devastating,” Cheney said. “And I think … the challenge with nuclear zero is it puts us in a position where deterrence doesn’t work anymore.”

Cheney also spoke about immigration to the United States from Mexico. She said the United States must welcome immigrants and make sure they can legally enter the country.

“We need to make sure that there are ways that people can come legally,” Cheney said. “And while we’re enforcing our laws, we also have to make sure that we are ensuring that people who want to come here and want to build a better life can do so legally and have the ability to do so.”

Following this, Cheney encouraged audience members to run for office and exercise their right to vote.

“Not only do you have an opportunity to make a difference, but you have an obligation to make a difference … the country and our structure of government doesn’t sustain itself,” Cheney said. “And it requires people who are committed to be engaged and involved.”

According to Cheney, her greatest hope for the future is that the younger generations will live in a country characterized by the peaceful transition of power.

“That is such a miracle and such a unique blessing that we have in this nation, and at its core, that really is what politics today is about,” Cheney said.

March 24, 2023