Former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican whose role as vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee investigating former President Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine the 2020 election led to her ouster from Republican leadership and defeat at the polls, will speak at Dartmouth on Friday, Jan. 5.
The event was rescheduled after unforeseen travel circumstances prevented Cheney from getting to Hanover on Oct. 11, the original date.
Cheney will deliver her keynote address, An Oath to Defend Democracy, sponsored by the Dartmouth Political Union, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, at 4 p.m. on Jan. 5 at the Hanover Inn.
The event will be livestreamed.
Registration to attend Cheney’s speech filled up within hours of the announcement of her appearance, but Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff can sign up for the waitlist.
Overflow viewing will be set up in Hayward Lounge across from the ballroom as well as in Hinman Forum at the Rockefeller Center.
Speaking before the House Jan. 6 Committee in June 2022, Cheney warned fellow Republicans who continued to rally around former president Trump, “Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
Following her participation in the committee, Cheney was formally censured by the Republican National Committee and defeated in the 2022 Wyoming Republican primary by the pro-Trump candidate, Harriet Hageman. Rep. Hageman is now Wyoming’s lone member of the U.S. House.
Despite this, Cheney has remained active in politics. In a Sept. 30 post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, she criticized members of the House and Senate for voting to deny Ukraine assistance “on the 85th anniversary of Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 ‘peace in our time’ speech.”
Cheney, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs over two terms of the George W. Bush administration, warned, “Appeasement didn’t work then. It won’t work now.”
Cheney’s appearance at Dartmouth is the keynote event of the student-run DPU’s Democracy Summit, which began in February and featured a series of public programs inviting participants from a range of political perspectives to engage in respectful debate on the challenges facing democracy today.
“To protect democracy, we need leaders and politicians who are willing to defend it despite criticism from their own party and those who elect them. Liz Cheney is an example of someone who did that very publicly,” says Jessica Chiriboga ’24, DPU president.
But the mission of the DPU is also to engage and to respectfully challenge political positions in order to rise above partisan polarization, says Chiriboga and Dylan Griffith ’25, DPU vice president.
“Liz Cheney did what she believed she had to do to defend the democratic institutions of our country,” Griffith says. “Students see that clearly. But some also want to challenge her on the fact that for the majority of her tenure in Congress, while Trump was president, she voted with him well over 90% of the time. She was one of the most ardent enablers of Trump just until the end. So there’s also room to question.”
Students may also register for a student reception run by the DPU with Cheney at 1 p.m. on Jan. 5 in the Hayward Room (that event also currently has a waitlist).
Jason Barabas ’93, director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, a co-sponsor of the keynote, says Cheney’s visit is an outstanding opportunity to engage with a critical issue of our day.
“This is a great opportunity for the Dartmouth community to think about what democracy means and requires,” Barabas says. “The student interest has been incredible. The Dartmouth Political Union played a pivotal role in helping to organize the event, and the campus responded, snatching up all the tickets quickly. We will have a huge audience tune-in online as well.”
Cheney’s memoir, Oath and Honor, is scheduled for release in the coming weeks.
The DPU’s Democracy Summit started with a public program by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian American journalist and women’s rights activist, and included programs with former U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who also served on the House Jan. 6 Committee; a conversation at the Dickey Center with political scientist Pratap Mehta of Ashoka University in Delhi, India, who was forced out of his position for criticizing the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; a public discussion with former Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, reflecting on the state of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill today; and a talk by Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., who spoke about “progressive politics in a partisan polity.”
The DPU and Rocky also co-hosted Dartmouth visiting professor Nancy Fraser for an event entitled “Can Democratic Socialism Work?” as part of the Democracy Summit this fall.
The Cheney event is also supported by the Rockefeller Center’s Class of 1930 Lecture Series and the Ethics Institute.