Transcript: Rep. Liz Cheney on "Face the Nation," July 21, 2019

Cheney: Trump attack on congresswomen "isn't about race"

The following is a transcript of the interview with Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming that aired Sunday, July 21, 2019, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: Joining us now is the number three Republican in the House, Wyoming's Liz Cheney. Good morning to you. 

REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: Good morning, Margaret. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You heard the vice president say, "next time the president might say something." Why doesn't the president as a matter of principle say unequivocally that non-white Americans are just as American as anyone else? Why doesn't he put this to rest?

REP. CHENEY: Well, I think you've heard him say that the chant was inappropriate. We've all said the chant was inappropriate. I think the news media--

MARGARET BRENNAN: No, he said they were patriotic--

REP. CHENEY: I think--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --very patriotic.

REP. CHENEY: I think the news media really wants to make this about race. You just did it. This isn't about race. It's not about gender. It's not about religion. These members of the House of Representatives more, it's not just these four, it's also some of the candidates who are running  for president on the Democratic side, fundamentally believe in policies that are dangerous for this nation. And as Republicans we are going to fight against those even if the mainstream media accuses us of racism when we do that. This is about their support for--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is "send her back"--

REP. CHENEY: It is absolutely--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --patriotic?

REP. CHENEY: It is absolutely wrong it should not have happened. And we've all said it shouldn't have happened. I would really like to see the--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And when the president says, "go back"--

REP. CHENEY: --media as focused. I would like to see the media as focused on the substance of what this wing of the Democratic Party is advocating because that is really dangerous for our country. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You understand--

REP. CHENEY: Socialism is--

MARGARET BRENNAN: the president--

REP. CHENEY: --dangerous for our country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --tweeted about this, this morning--

REP. CHENEY: I do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --right before we went to air.

REP. CHENEY: I do. That's right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the president is--

REP. CHENEY: It is- it is fundament--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --continuing this conversation

REP. CHENEY: The president, this morning before we came on air, talked about the extent to which you know they love this nation. And I think that if you go back and you look at many of the things I've said you saw the vice president say some of that this morning as well, talking about the nation is "garbage" for example. But--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But those are policies.

REP. CHENEY: I would-- I would, you know, again reiterate this election and these issues that we're talking about are fundamental to the future of this country. When you have members of Congress who are as anti-Semitic as- as Ilhan Omar has been, when you have members of Congress who are advocating the, you know, complete elimination of the use of all fossil fuels, all air travel, the elimination of private insurance, the imposition of socialism on this country, we're not going to stand for that. We're not going to stand for policies that take freedom away from the American people. That's what this fight is about.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But, what you're talking about there are policy differences. 

REP. CHENEY: That's right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's not what the president was tweeting about this morning. 

REP. CHENEY: Listen, I think it's fundamentally--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And when he said, "I don't believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our country." I know you disagree with their policies and their politics, you just made that clear. But, there have been death threats against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

REP. CHENEY: MARGARET--

MARGARET BRENNAN: In April, there was an arrest--

REP. CHENEY: --MARGARET, listen--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --because someone called--

REP. CHENEY: MARGARET--  

MARGARET BRENNAN: --her office and said--

REP CHENEY: There is no question--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --asked if she--

REP. CHENEY: Listen--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and said he--

REP. CHENEY: --There are a lot of secure--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --would put a bullet in--

REP. CHENEY: Are you going to let me answer your question?

MARGARET BRENNAN: I- I'm asking the question-- 

REP. CHENEY: I- I- I got the question.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --a bullet in her skull.

REP. CHENEY: There are- there are- fundamentally, this is- this is a moment where we have to be very clear, and- and it's really important for us to focus on- and I know you guys don't want to, you don't want to focus on the fact that there are substantive differences, you also don't want to focus on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But, I--

REP. CHENEY: Wait, let me- I let you ask me the question. This is about--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But that's not what the president is talking about. He's not-- 

REP. CHENEY: --policy. And it is- this is- that is not true. The president--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --talking about policy.

REP. CHENEY: --every single day talks about policy. Every single day--

MARGARET BRENNAN: "Are they capable of loving our country"--

REP. CHENEY: Every single day this president talks about the tremendous economic growth that we have seen since he's been in office, the tremendous job growth, the tremendous--

MARGARET BRENNAN: "Capable of loving--

REP. CHENEY: decline in unemployment--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --our country" has nothing to do--

REP. CHENEY: MARGARET.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --with jobs--

REP.  CHENEY: You are making--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you disagree with that sentiment?

REP. CHENEY: --my point, you are making my point for me right now. We are focused on--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you agreeing with the president or disagreeing with him? Because I'm not clear.

REP. CHENEY: The president has absolutely said that they should not have chanted "Send her back." Our concern and our opposition to what these women are saying- and many other members of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives- has to do with the fact that they are advocating policies that will destroy this nation and we will fight against it. And I think the news media, you included, ought to cover the substance and I think it is outrageous for you to say the president doesn't talk about substance. Every single day, you can look at the evidence, you can look at the fact that this nation is stronger than- than it has probably ever been. You can look at what the president's policies have done on economic growth, but you don't want to talk about that. So I do think that it would behoove you-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --We would love to talk about that, and the president has talked to us about that--

REP. CHENEY: You have every opportunity, every single day, you have an opportunity--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --the president this morning tweeted that they don't love their country. 

REP. CHENEY: You've made that point MARGARET, yes. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: The rest of the world is also watching this, though. 


REP. CHENEY: That's right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Canada's prime minister said the comments made were "hurtful, wrong, completely unacceptable." Germany's chancellor said these sentiments are in opposition to her impressions about the U.S. and she expressed solidarity in her words "with the attacked women." The prime minister of the U.K. issued a statement condemning this, of New Zealand. These aren't members of the media, these are world leaders. Should Americans find the comments from the president acceptable?

REP. CHENEY: MARGARET, listen, I know you want to continue to talk about this as though it had to do with race. I know you want to continue to talk about it, as though it had--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You think all those world leaders--

REP. CHENEY: MARGARET, I just let you- I just let you--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --misunderstood everything?  

REP. CHENEY: Look I don't think the American people are going to look to foreign leaders to tell us who should lead the nation. They're not going to look to foreign leaders to tell us whether or not we should be a socialist country. Thank goodness we won't do that. We depend upon those people who are elected. And I think that when you see the- the Democratic members of Congress standing up and saying that they want to, you know, that- that we have concentration camps on our borders, that they want to provide free healthcare for illegal immigrants, that they want to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sure.

REP.  CHENEY: --end private health insurance, that they want to impose socialism on this country, they need to defend those policy positions and we are going to take every opportunity to make sure the American people, who are the ones that are going to make this choice come November 2020, recognize the fundamental choice that we're all facing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to get to you on Iran but I just do want to point out that there are two black elected Republicans who said that this was racially insensitive.

REP. CHENEY: MARGARET, we have many views-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And another Republican Mark Walker-- 

REP. CHENEY: MARGARET. 

MARAGRET BRENNAN: --said it was painful. So-- 

REP. CHENEY: MARGARET, we have all said that--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --that's not the media

REP. CHENEY: Excuse me, but you--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But, on Iran-- 

REP. CHENEY: Listen, you just continue to sort of put these little points out there and then move on. And every time you do it you are making the point I'm making. As Republicans we are focused on substance. We are focused on policy and we will continue to do that no matter what the mainstream media attempts to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Unfortunately now we don't have time to talk about Iran, but thank you very much--

REP. CHENEY: Well you should have asked about Iran sooner because that's a policy issue.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I would love to if the president tweets about it--

REP. CHENEY: Great.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --we certainly will cause I know you--

REP. CHENEY: He has tweeted about Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --have raised questions about it.

REP. CHENEY: Actually he's tweeted about Iran quite a bit. Be good to cover all the president's tweets.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I would love to.

REP. CHENEY: Great.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you very much--

REP. CHENEY: Thank you 

MARGARET BRENNAN: --but we have to go now to the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff--