By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Rep. Liz Cheney said she had been “wrong” to oppose same-sex marriage as she reflected on the stance that sparked an open rift with her sister during her unsuccessful Senate bid in 2013.
“I was wrong. I was wrong. I love my sister very much. I love her family very much. And I was wrong,” the Wyoming Republican told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired Sunday. “It’s a very personal issue — and very personal for my family. I believe that my dad was right. And my sister and I have had that conversation.”
Mary Cheney, who is a lesbian, took to Facebook in 2013 to object to her sister’s opposition to same-sex marriage after she called it “just an issue in which we disagree” during an interview with Fox News. The dispute prompted their parents to weigh in, saying they were “pained” to see the sisters battle over a private matter in full view of the news media.
While Liz Cheney has conceded in recent years that same-sex marriage is settled law, her new comments represent the clearest indication yet that her stance has evolved.
Mary Cheney commended her sister’s new comments Sunday in a Facebook post, writing, “I love my sister very much and am so proud of her. It took a ton of courage to admit she was wrong in 2013 when she opposed marriage equality. That is something few politicians would ever do.”
“I have nothing but respect and admiration for the strength of character she continues to show on a daily basis. We could certainly use a lot more leaders like Liz Cheney right now,” she continued. “And as her sister I have one more thing that I just have to say… I told you so.”
During the interview, Liz Cheney said, “This is an issue that we have to recognize, you know, as — as human beings that we need to work against discrimination of all kinds in our country, in our state.”
“We were at an event a few nights ago and there was a young woman who said she doesn’t feel safe sometimes because she’s transgender. And nobody should feel unsafe. Freedom means freedom for everybody,” she said.
Trump ‘doesn’t believe in the rule of law’
One of just two Republicans on the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, Cheney also brushed off her GOP detractors in the interview, stating pointedly that former President Donald Trump “doesn’t believe in the rule of law.”
“Those who think that by ignoring Trump he will go away have been proven wrong,” Cheney said.
“And in my view, the American people, they deserve better than having to choose between what I think are the really disastrous policies of Joe Biden — in a whole range of areas, really bad for our economy,” she said. “From a national security perspective, what’s happened, what he’s done in Afghanistan: very dangerous policies for the country. But the alternative cannot be a man who doesn’t believe in the rule of law, and who violated his oath of office.”
She also took a swipe at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, calling his actions after January 6 “unforgivable.”
“What he’s done is embrace Donald Trump. And if I were doing what he’s doing, I would be deeply ashamed of myself,” Cheney said.
She continued: “There are people who supported Donald Trump because of his policies. But there’s a difference between somebody who voted for Donald Trump and being the Republican leader after an insurrection, and setting all of that aside and going to Mar-a-Lago, and rehabilitating him, bringing him back in. That to me is unforgivable.”
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has defied her party by joining the panel controlled by Democrats and even sacrificed her own position in leadership in order to remain vocal and outspoken about the need to investigate the January 6 insurrection.
The select committee issued its first round of subpoenas last week, targeting close aides and allies of Trump.
“I watched while the attack was underway — understood very clearly what he did on January 6, what he failed to do on January 6,” Cheney said of Trump in the interview. “Instead of stopping the attack while it was underway, he was busy calling up senators trying to get them to delay the count.”
‘Most important House race in the country’
While Cheney voted with Trump more than 90% of the time, her vocal opposition following the insurrection prompted the former President to endorse attorney Harriet Hageman to challenge Cheney for the GOP nomination in Wyoming’s lone House district.
Cheney expressed confidence that she could win reelection, and said that a vote for her Trump-endorsed Republican opponent is a “vote for somebody who’s willing to perpetuate the big lie, somebody who’s willing to put allegiance to Trump above allegiance to the Constitution.”
The primary race is quickly shaping up to be one of the most notable proxy contests in the greater fight over the future of the Republican Party, something Cheney openly acknowledged in her “60 Minutes” interview.
“I think it’s going to be the most important House race in the country in 2022,” Cheney said. “And it will be one where people do have the opportunity to say, ‘We want to stand for the Constitution.'”
The story and headline have been updated with additional comments from Cheney’s “60 Minutes” interview.
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CNN’s Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.