Rand Paul and Liz Cheney, two people whose names you’d never know had their horrible fathers become used car salesmen instead of two of the most prominent figures in the Republican Party over the past 50 years, are continuing to wage the pettiest, dumbest feud against each other.
Paul, a calcium-deficient senator from Kentucky, and Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House and an objectively terrible sister, have been at each other’s throats since the anniversary of 9/11, on which Paul criticized former Vice President Dick Cheney’s propensity for endless wars and Cheney, a war monger in her own right, responded in kind. Both Cheney and Paul then publicly competed for the attention of their new dad, Donald Trump.
Then Paul called into a TV station in Wyoming to talk shit about Cheney, the state’s only House member and a potential candidate for U.S. Senate after longtime Sen. Mike Enzi announced his retirement in May. But as Politico reported on Sunday, Paul has been hard at work trying to block Cheney’s path to the Senate as soon as the seat opened up: According to Politico, Paul “made contact with” and encouraged former Rep. Cynthia Lummis, Cheney’s predecessor in the House, to jump into the race.
Lummis announced she was running in July; Cheney hasn’t yet made a decision. “Cynthia Lummis is going to be the next U.S. senator from Wyoming,” Paul told Politico. “If [Cheney] runs, it may be the most significant Republican primary in the country. She’ll have to decide whether she wants to match conservative credentials with somebody who actually lives in Wyoming and has been there her whole life.”
The potential primary is shaping up to be a classic Tea Party-era fight between the libertarian and neoconservative wings of the party. Both wings have capitulated spectacularly to Trump, as evidenced by Cheney and Paul’s unceasing quest for the affections of the president. Per Politico:
Some GOP lawmakers and aides interpreted the Cheney-Paul spat on Twitter as an audition for an audience of one: Trump. If Cheney does jump into the race, there would undoubtedly be a battle for Trump’s endorsement. His supporters in Congress are unsure whether Trump would weigh in.
Cheney’s allies, though, say she has a leg up, catching Trump’s eye on Fox News as a fierce champion of the military. At a White House event in July, the president heaped praise on Cheney, saying she has a “pretty unlimited future.”
Yet Lummis was also considered for Interior secretary, a sign the president has gotten over a disparaging comment she made during the 2016 campaign — she said she was “holding my nose” to vote for Trump.
While the grudge is petty and Wyoming being one of the most conservative states in the country means a Republican is going to occupy this seat either way, the ultimate outcome of the primary isn’t exactly meaningless. As Politico notes, Cheney is seen as a potential future Speaker of the House if she decides to stay in her current seat, or as a potential future presidential candidate if she runs for (and wins) the Senate seat.
Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough: Back in 2017, Erik Prince, of Blackwater fame, was reportedly considering a bid for this seat. The horrifying possibilities are endless!