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  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming talks with Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, left, and Steve Shine during a meet-and-greet VIP reception before the start of the Lincoln Day Dinner at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center on Friday.

Friday, April 26, 2019 8:40 pm

Cheney sees congressional Democrats as socialists

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming repeatedly insisted Friday that socialists are trying to take over the Democratic Party and Congress.

Cheney said legislation and policies advocated by the new Democratic majority in the House this year demonstrate "how much elections matter and how important it is we not go down the path of socialism and socialist policies that we've seen certainly Democrats in the House adopt and pursue, and we've seen that also among their presidential candidates."

Moderate Democrats in Congress "are very worried about their seats. They're worried because they didn't run on a platform of, you know, we're going to bring socialism to America. But that's what the Democrats are doing," Cheney said at an afternoon news conference at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

Cheney was the keynote speaker Friday night at the Allen County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner at the Ramada Plaza. At least 350 people were expected to attend, including GOP candidates in the party's May 7 municipal primary election.

Cheney, 52, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, chairs the House Republican Conference, the third-ranking position in her caucus. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, said at the news conference that she is "the future of the Republican Party leadership in Washington, D.C."

Banks accused Democrats of "terrible socialist policies that would really harm the American economy and the future of this country," including the Green New Deal on climate change and universal government-sponsored health care, also known as "Medicare for all."

At a recent Lincoln Day Dinner in northwest Ohio, Cheney was quoted by news media as saying Democrats could not be both the party of John F. Kennedy and of Bernie Sanders, the liberal Vermont senator who seeks the Democratic presidential nomination. Cheney was asked Friday whether Republicans could be both the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan and of President Donald Trump.

Cheney said "there are a lot of similarities" between the Reagan and Trump eras, including "tremendous historic economic growth," increased military spending and "improving America's standing in the world."

"I would say one big difference between the Reagan era and today is during President Reagan's time, the threat of socialism came from overseas, and today it's rising in the halls of Congress among the Democratic Party," Cheney said.

"We are very proudly the party of Lincoln and of Reagan and of Donald Trump," she said. "And the policies that this president is putting in place are really going to be on the ballot in 2020 for people to choose between freedom and opportunity and progress and security or the kind of socialism and expanded government control over every aspect of our lives that the Democrats are offering."

Cheney said she supported Trump's announcement earlier in the day at the National Rifle Association's convention in Indianapolis that he will withdraw the United States from the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty, which regulations the trade of conventional weapons.

"I think there have been concerns for many years about the extent to which the deal fundamentally could impinge upon America's Second Amendment rights," she said. "Whenever we're looking at international agreements, particularly U.N. agreements and others, we've got to make sure that what we're doing is in the interests of the United States and that we aren't putting ourselves in a position where we're simply accepting a deal because there's a lot of global pressure perhaps to be part of a deal."

Cheney also said Americans "are frankly tired" of Democratic lawmakers who are pressing to investigate possible links between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russians who sought to interfere with that year's election.

Americans "don't want to see the kind of circus and investigation and potentially impeachment you hear some Democrats talking about," she said.

bfrancisco@jg.net