- Thousands of Trump supporters showed up to his rally in Casper, Wyoming on Saturday.
- Trump has endorsed Harriet Hageman, a primary challenger of Rep. Liz Cheney.
- Trump supporters, who came from all over Wyoming, derided Cheney at the rally.
CASPER, Wyoming — Dee Lubeck traveled roughly 275 miles across the state to see former President Donald Trump take the stage on Saturday for a rally in support of Harriet Hageman, the primary challenger of Rep. Liz Cheney.
The 71-year-old voter, a lifelong Republican who resides in the small town of Pinedale, said he has no intention of backing Cheney, Wyoming's lone member of Congress. His vote is for Hageman, "even if I gotta crawl to do it," Lubeck said, pointing to his walking cane beside him.
"I don't want to spit in front of you, but that's what I do when I hear the name Liz," he said with a laugh.
The mention of Cheney's name provoked scoffing, head-shaking and widespread disapproval among dedicated Trump supporters who flocked to the former president's event on Saturday afternoon from all over the red state. Attendees, donned in "Trump 2024" caps and T-shirts, waited for hours in a line that snaked through the parking lot of the Ford Wyoming Center, excited for Trump's first-ever appearance in the state.
Cheney, a conservative Republican who's served in the US House of Representatives since 2017, stood by Trump throughout his four-year term. But in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot, she broke from Trump, voting to impeach him on a charge of "incitement of insurrection." Over the past year, Cheney has emerged as an outspoken and prominent Trump critic, characterizing herself as a defender of the Constitution.
Consequently, Trump has taken sharp aim at Cheney, repeatedly disparaging her and launching a revenge plot to unseat her. His Saturday appearance in Wyoming served to implore voters to choose Hageman over Cheney in the upcoming Republican primary on August 16. At the rally, Trump's supporters, some of whom have previously voted for Cheney, poured scorn on her.
"My opinion of her is treasonistic [sic]. I don't feel she did her sworn duty in representing her constituents," James West, a 40-year-old from Lander, said of Cheney.
"Disgrace to the Republican Party," said Chris Sorge, 30. "Two-faced," added Dallas Peasley, 31. "She might as well put a D in front of her name," Obe Corbian, 48, said. Cheney's a "RINO," said Chelsea Roan, 36.
Cheney's decision to criticize the former president has put her at political risk in a state that overwhelmingly voted for Trump in 2020. Yet despite the nation- and state-wide backlash she's endured because of her stance toward Trump, Cheney has stood firm against the attacks, and officially launched her reelection bid on Thursday, puzzling voters at the rally.
"She should go back to wherever she's from and never come back," Delia, 60, said. Her husband, Lester, wore a cap with the words "Piss on Cheney" inscribed on it. The couple asked Insider not to disclose their last name.
Though many attendees swore they would never tick Cheney's name on a ballot box again, some were still uncertain about how they'd vote in a few months, leaving open the possibility of supporting the incumbent congresswoman.
Kay West, a 75-year-old from Casper, said the decision is tough because while she cast her vote for Cheney before, Trump's endorsement for Hageman has "enticed" her to learn more about Cheney's challenger, an attorney who grew up on a ranch outside of Fort Laramie, Wyoming.
"Liz Cheney has done some good," West said, adding that she's undecided at the moment.
Cheney has "stood up for what she believes in. That's Wyoming through and through," another undecided voter, who asked Insider not to name them, said. "I want to see what Harriet has to say."
But according to Janet Shaver, Cheney is no longer the same person who she voted for in the past, telling Insider: "We're all in for Harriet."
"She's changed," Shaver, a 75-year-old from Thermopolis, said of Cheney. "She's very against Trump. She did wrong."
Bob Langdon, too, said he's committed to voting for Hageman, citing Trump's support for her.
"Trump don't make mistakes. He's the man," Langdon, 74, said. "Anybody he says you should vote for, you should vote for."
"She's not for the people," Langdon said of Cheney. "Go get a job flipping burgers somewhere."
The closely watched race is widely considered to represent a test of Trump's power over the Republican Party. Earlier this week, his high-profile endorsements for Republican candidates against incumbent officials in Georgia flopped. Yet Trump-backed candidates in Ohio and Pennsylvania did win their primary elections in recent weeks.