Wyoming has a history of producing public servants who put loyalty to their country and their state above all other interests.

In 1973 Cliff Hansen, who represented Wyoming for two terms in the US Senate, was among a small group of Republicans who quietly urged Richard Nixon to step down and avoid being removed from office by impeachment during the Watergate scandal. Sen. Hansen did what he thought was best for the nation.

That same kind of courage was vividly demonstrated last week, when Dick Cheney joined his daughter, Liz, on the floor of the House of Representatives as it marked the anniversary of the January 6, 2021 riot -- the worst attack on the US Capitol since the British set fire to it 207 years ago.

“I was honored and proud to join my daughter on the House floor to recognize this anniversary and to commend the heroic actions of law enforcement on that day and reaffirm our dedication to the Constitution,” he said. “The importance of Jan. 6 as a historic event cannot be overstated.”

The US House is a place Dick Cheney knows well.  He served a decade as Wyoming’s congressman and became the second-ranking House Republican leader, before he was chosen by President George H.W. Bush to be Secretary of Defense. And he occasionally visited the chamber when he was Vice-President under George W. Bush.

He was greeted by some of the Democrats who once denounced him for his conservative positions, in the same House where liberals introduced a resolution in 2007 to impeach him over the Iraq war.

The current Rep. Cheney introduced him to her House colleagues last week by saying, “This is my father.  This is dad.”

No doubt he was motivated in part by a desire to back her, in her work on the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.  “I think Liz is doing a hell of a job, and I’m here to support her,” he said as he left the House floor.

The two Cheneys were the only Republicans in the House during last Thursday’s ceremony.  It was a stark reminder that the simple act of condemning an attack on the citadel of American democracy has so bitterly divided our country.

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