Cheney hits back at Trump over election 'big lie'
"The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE," the No. 3 House Republican said Monday.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks on Capitol Hill on April 20.Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images file
Rep. Liz Cheney
of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, said Monday that anyone claiming the 2020 presidential election was stolen is "poisoning our democratic system," a direct response to former President Donald Trump
"The 2020 presidential election was not stolen," Cheney, chair of the House Republican Conference, said in a tweet. "Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE
, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system."
A Cheney spokesman told NBC News that the congresswoman was responding to Trump's statement from earlier in the morning, in which he said: "The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!"
Cheney has refused to back down from her criticisms of Trump, despite growing pressure from other Republicans. She was the highest-ranking Republican to vote to impeach Trump for his role in egging on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and has been at odds with other members of House GOP leadership over embracing Trump and entertaining his election claims since then. She has repeatedly and forcefully rejected Trump's stolen election lie.
Use of "the big lie"
to describe Trump's false narrative of a stolen election — a reference to a Nazi propaganda strategy — was popularized earlier this year. Soon after a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol in an attempt to block Congress from affirming President Joe Biden's victory, the then-president-elect accused Trump, along with Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who both led objections to certified state vote totals, of perpetuating "the big lie."
"The big lie" refers to an idea perpetuated by Reich propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels
, who said if one repeats a significant lie enough, people will start to believe it.
Trump's attempted commandeering of the phrase to fit his narrative on Monday, similar to his rebranding of "fake news" in the aftermath of the 2016 election, has been echoed by some conservatives. For example, Hawley has referred to "Biden's big lie about election integrity."