Editorial | Malliotakis betrays Liz Cheney, elections, constituents and the rule of law – again

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Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis.
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

In 2019, one of the most prominent conservative voices in American politics, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, came to Staten Island for a fundraiser to offer moral and financial support for then-Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis’ bid to unseat then-Congressman Max Rose the following year.

Cheney’s influence undoubtedly helped spur Malliotakis to victory over Rose in 2020. And on Wednesday, Malliotakis delivered quite a thank-you present to a congresswoman who helped her get to Capitol Hill: A knife in her back.

Malliotakis went along with the horde of Trump sympathizers in the House Republican Caucus who voted Wednesday to boot Cheney from her position as conference chair.

This was the punishment the caucus meted out against Cheney for speaking the truth about the 2020 election, and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack by a mob of Trump supporters, militia members and white supremacists.

Even with the ouster vote pending, even with Trumpists in Wyoming vowing to vote her out of Congress next year, Cheney remains true to fact, and true to the Constitution.

Would that we could say the same for Malliotakis, and too many of her Republican peers these days.

Let’s not forget that Malliotakis objected to some electoral vote certifications in the hours after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack — thereby continuing to give credence to Trump’s big lie about the election. 

Let’s not forget that she voted against his impeachment for inciting the insurrection on our Capitol.

Let’s not forget that her actions earned her an F grade from the Republican Accountability Project in their rating of GOP lawmakers in fulfilling their oath to defend American democracy. 

At least she condemned Congress’ most infamous Qanon believer

Still, it’s no surprise that Malliotakis went along with the Trump cult of personality again on May 12 in ousting Cheney from her party leadership, and embracing as her replacement upstate Congresswoman Elise Stefanik — one of the most flagrant, shameless Trump boosters in America.

In our democratic republic, legislators aren’t sent to the Capitol merely to do what the people tell them. There are times when popular opinion is dead wrong, and it’s a legislator’s responsibility to stand up for the truth and the rule of law.

This is one of those times, and Malliotakis continues to fail that test.

Either she is part and parcel to Trump’s lawless, fact-less cult of personality, or she is so scared of her own constituents that she cannot bear to do the right thing for fear of being primaried.

If there’s any justice, Brooklyn and Staten Island voters in her district will see to it that Malliotakis is voted out next year and replaced by, at the very least, a Republican who respects democracy and the rule of law.

Someone like Liz Cheney.