During Wyoming's recent Republican primary debate, Representative Liz Cheney defended her work with the House Select Committee tasked with investigating of January 6 insurrection, declaring that "the truth matters."
Her opponent, Harriet Hageman, who has received former President Donald Trump's endorsement, disagreed and backed Trump's "Big Lie" that the 2020 general election was stolen.
While none of that was a surprise, it was the way Hageman and the other candidates, which included state Senator Anthony Bouchard, businesswoman Robyn Belinskey, and retired United States army colonel Denton Knapp, bungled their answers that attracted negative attention and comparisons to an episode of Saturday Night Live.
A video of some of their remarks was assembled by the Republican Accountability Project, a coalition of prominent conservatives who have targeted Republicans they hold responsible for the attack against the nation's seat of government, which took place after a mob of Trump's supporters, many of them White nationalists and White supremacists, stormed the Capitol on the false premise the 2020 general election had been stolen.
You can watch it below.
Belinskey stumbled when asked about the January 6 insurrection and could not provide an answer, only muttering, "Oh gosh" and chuckling to herself while the cameras rolled.
Her response lies in stark contrast to the response Cheney gave, in which she referred to the attack as a clear "attempt to delay the count of the electoral votes."
When asked about COVID-19 vaccine policy, Hageman referred to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, as "one of the more corrupt officials in Washington, D.C.," while Cheney stressed that "everyone ought to get vaccinated and we need to do everything we can to protect ourselves from future viruses."
The proceedings only grew more comical after Belinskey brought up MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a prominent Trump acolyte and election fraud conspiracy theorist; and after Bouchard gave a nonsensical response about "Facebook using the system to steer people," adding that "all the major internets do that."
Hageman also went so far as to cite 2000 Mules—the patently false "documentary" by right-wing political commentator and Trump pardon recipient Dinesh D'Souza that asserts geotagged cellphone data proved voter fraud had taken place–as an example of a development that challenged the faith Wyoming voters have in the electoral process.
And again, these responses contrasted with Cheney's, which noted that Trump has "consistently said that the election was stolen when it wasn't." Nor did Cheney launch into conspiracies about Ukraine: Later, Belinskey accused the Ukrainian government and the Biden administration of engaging in "money laundering."
For many, the video demonstrated that Cheney was the only actual adult in the room.
Hageman is widely considered to be Cheney's biggest threat. She currently leads by about 30 points in polls.
Cheney angered her own party and was ousted from her leadership position in the House after she pushed back against Trump's falsehoods about the 2020 general election. Trump had issued a statement, more than three months after President Joe Biden took office, calling Biden's victory "the big lie."
Cheney responded shortly afterward with a statement of her own affirming that the election "was not stolen," adding that anyone who says it was is "turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has long denied that the successful effort to remove Cheney from her position as the House's third-ranking Republican is in any way related to her vote to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection against Congress.