Dick Cheney and daughter attend January 6 commemoration

Former US vice president and congresswoman Liz Cheney were the only Republicans at the House event

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Former US vice president Dick Cheney and his daughter, congresswoman Liz Cheney, were the only Republicans to attend a House ceremony to mark one year since the deadly storming of the US Capitol by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

Mr Cheney and his daughter, a House representative from Wyoming, sat together in the front row on the Republican side of the chamber as Speaker Nancy Pelosi thanked the US Capitol Police for defending them after a mob broke into the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden's election victory.

The absence of other Republican figures at the event underlined the influence wielded within the party by Mr Trump, who stoked anger among his supporters by repeatedly claiming that he lost his attempt at re-election because of fraud.

Former US vice president Dick Cheney with congresswoman Liz Cheney in the US Capitol on January 6, 2022, the first anniversary of the storming of the building by Donald Trump supporters. AP Photo

Mr Cheney, who served under George W Bush and is also a former congressman, remarked on the changes within the party after the ceremony.

“It’s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years,” he said.

His daughter has been ostracised by her fellow Republicans for her criticism of Mr Trump and her support for his impeachment after the riot. In May, they removed her from the No 3 leadership post in the House for her persistent repudiation of Mr Trump’s election claims.

Asked if he was disappointed by it, Mr Cheney replied: “My daughter can take care of herself.”

Democrats this summer invited Ms Cheney to join the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, further angering Republican colleagues, and she quickly became a driving force as the panel’s vice chair.

She has found common cause with House Democrats such as Adam Schiff, who was among those to greet the Cheneys after the ceremony.

“I was talking to Liz, and she said, ‘this is my father’. I didn’t recognise him with a mask on,” Mr Schiff said.

“We were discussing what a sad moment this is in the country, what a trying time it is, and the fact that things are more at risk in terms of our democracy now than a year ago. I told him how courageous his daughter had been and how much respect we have for her.”

Other Democratic legislators also lined up to shake the former vice president’s hand. Majority leader Steny Hoyer spoke to the Cheneys at length.

“I told him, thank you for being here, how proud I am of his daughter, and I know he is as well, for having the courage to stand up for truth,” Mr Hoyer said.

“We were appreciative of the fact he’s here supporting his daughter in what is otherwise a very significant minority position in the Republican Party, which is very sad.”

Ms Pelosi also spoke to Mr Cheney briefly in the House chamber. The two have waged scores of political battles over the years. She became the first female House speaker during George W Bush’s second term and she sat on the dais next to the vice president as Mr Bush proclaimed in 2007 that it was his pleasure to become the first president to begin a State of the Union address with the words “Madam Speaker”.

“I was happy to welcome him back and to congratulate him on the courage of Liz Cheney,” Ms Pelosi said.

Mr Cheney also issued a formal statement after the House session, saying the importance of January 6 as an historic event cannot be overstated.

“I was honoured and proud to join my daughter on the House floor to recognise this anniversary, to commend the heroic actions of law enforcement that day, and to reaffirm our dedication to the Constitution,” he said.

“I am deeply disappointed at the failure of many members of my party to recognise the grave nature of the January 6 attacks and the ongoing threat to our nation.”

Mr Schiff said the appearance of the former vice president was a reminder of a different political era.

“That was a time when there were broad policy differences, but there were no differences when it came to both parties’ devotion to the idea of democracy. And that seems like such a quaint time now.”

With reporting from agencies

Updated: January 07, 2022, 9:19 AM
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