REPUBLICAN Rep. Liz Cheney said that several House Republicans did not vote to impeach former President Donald Trump despite wanting to because they feared for their safety.
Cheney was ousted from her position as the third-ranking House Republican this week after refusing to support "the big lie" that the election was stolen from Trump.
Cheney said despite the Republican party's devotion to the former president and his election fraud claims, there are "more members who believe in substance" over lies than are willing to publicly admit it.
"If you look at the vote to impeach, for example, there were members who told me that they were afraid for their own security – afraid in some instances for their lives," Cheney told CNN's Jake Tapper.
After being impeached for a second time following the Capitol attack, Trump was acquitted by the Senate after they fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.
Ten Senate Republicans broke with the party and voted to convict, including Cheney. It was the most bipartisan vote to convict that the Senate has ever seen.
Cheney has repeatedly said that Republicans' continued support of Trump could lead to the party's destruction. Just this week, a faction of anti-Trump Republicans threatened to break from the party.
"We have to save the party," Cheney told Tapper. "The country needs a Republican party, and certainly the ideals and the principals that I believe in should be reflected in that party."
She criticized both parties for having members that seek social media stardom over making a consequential legislative impact.
"We need to incentivize people who want to come to Washington and do real work, people who want to come and actually legislate," she said.
Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York was voted in to replace Cheney as the GOP conference chair.
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Cheney said Congress as a whole needs to become more civilized and serious.
"We also need to get back to a time where we can have really vigorous policy debates, where we...didn’t have the kind of vitriol flying back and forth that we certainly have had over the course of the last several years."
Cheney told ABC News on Friday that she regretted voting for Trump in the 2020 election, although she never would have voted for Biden.