“‘The things we do for the Orange Jesus.’ ”
That’s a line that Rep. Liz Cheney recalls a fellow House Republican uttering under his breath, referring to former President Donald Trump, on the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Cheney, a vocal Trump critic, was delivering a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, on Monday night when she shared this colorful anecdote, which got a laugh from the crowd.
Cheney serves as the vice chairwoman of the bipartisan Jan. 6 select committee, which has been investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and presenting evidence that Trump and his supporters instigated the insurrection by promoting false claims that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen.
On Monday night, Cheney recalled how on Jan. 6, 2021 — just hours before hundreds of Trump supporters assaulted the Capitol complex — she was in the Republican cloakroom, and noticed some of her colleagues were signing sheets of paper laid out on a desk. Turns out, these were sheets objecting to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election — which President Joe Biden won by more then 7 million votes in the popular count and 306–232 in the Electoral College. There has been no evidence of widespread election fraud.
“And, as I was sitting there, a member came in, and he signed his name on each one of the sheets,” she said. “And then he said under his breath, ‘The things we do for the Orange Jesus.’ And I thought, you know, you’re taking an act that is unconstitutional.”
Watch a clip here:
This clip has been widely shared across social media, with one tweet from the Republican Accountability Project in particular drawing around 300,000 views on Twitter. It led “Orange Jesus” to trend on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, as well.
It was a moment of levity in a speech that condemned many of her fellow Republicans for supporting Trump despite evidence tying him to the Jan. 6 insurrection, which the Jan. 6 select committee’s chairman has called an attempted coup, as well as the recent investigation into classified documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
“Those who are protecting Donald Trump — elected leaders of my party — are now willing to condemn FBI agents, Department of Justice officials, and pretend that taking top-secret SCI [sensitive compartmented information] documents and keeping them in a desk drawer in an office in Mar-a-Lago, or in an unsecured location anywhere, was somehow not a problem. They are attempting to excuse this behavior,” she said. “Bit by bit, excuse by excuse, we’re putting Donald Trump above the law. We are rendering indefensible conduct normal, legal and appropriate — as though he were a king.”
Cheney also said that Trump has encouraged his supporters to use violence to prevent his prosecution, adding that “it is hard to see this as anything but a direct threat to our Constitution, to our republic. … One can only wonder, is this where the Republican Party will go next? That prosecution [of Trump] is inappropriate, because MAGA will violently oppose it?”
The at-large representative from Wyoming recently lost her primary as she sought a fourth term in the House, but there have been rumors — and some teasing hints from Cheney, herself — that she could run for president in 2024. Whatever comes next, she has said, “I am absolutely going to continue this battle” against Trump.
She may be building support, as NBC reported that she drew a standing ovation following her American Enterprise Institute speech on Monday. Her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, was in the audience.