Sarah Longwell on Efforts to Oppose a Future Trump Political Candidacy

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Sarah Longwell, founder of the Republican Accountability Project, talked about efforts by her group to oppose a future Trump political candidacy and highlight his role in the January 6th Attack on the Capitol.


PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: Sara Longwell is the executive director of the Republican Accountability project, and she also serves as the co-founder of Defending Democracy Together, Sara Longwell, welcome to C-SPAN.

SARA LONGWELL: Thanks for having me.

PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: Can you give a brief explanation of those two organizations and what their work involves?

SARA LONGWELL: Yeah, well Defending Democracy Together is the broad umbrella organization, and we run a number of sort of pro-democracy projects through it and one of them we launched shortly after January 6th, which is the Republican Accountability Project, in which we sought to push back against those Republicans who were putting forward the “Big Lie,” who were telling voters that the election was stolen, people who voted against certifying the election, some of whom participated in January 6th – we really, really wanted their to be some accountability for that behavior, and unfortunately there wasn’t much until the recent January 6 Committee really got underway. And so, we’ve been very engaged in trying to help amplify the results of the January 6 Committee and their findings.

PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: And so, as far as those two organizations, who financially backs you?

SARA LONGWELL: You know it’s a broad range of people, there are a lot of sort of disaffected Republicans, I would call them like us, there are many independent pro-democracy funders, there’s actually a very robust kind of democracy space that has cropped up over the last six years. And so, it’s really people across the political spectrum but I would say it’s really people who want to see a change in the Republican party away from the Trump-ism that has dominated for the last six years.

PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: Representative Liz Cheney is a key figure in the January 6 investigation, talk about her defeat yesterday to Harriet Hegeman.

SARA LONGWELL: Yeah, I mean look … it’s sad but not at all unexpected, the fact is she is just the latest in a number of people who voted for impeachment who tried to tell the truth about January 6, she was one of the most prominent along with Adam Kinzinger, who was pushing back on the big lie and the fact is the Republicans in Wyoming want to be told that lie, they believe that lie. And you know that was one of the most pro-Trump – in fact I think it is THE most Pro-Trump in terms of voting record, state in the country and so, it was going to be very difficult for her to survive politically being as vocal as she’s been, but you know she has been very clear that she’s going to choose truth and the constitution over whatever that meant for her politically. And I couldn’t respect her more and the way that she’s handled herself you know I have watched every Republican, well not every Republican but the vast majority of them cower in the face of Trump over the last six years, totally adopt his lies, refuse to push back on them and so watching her sort of courageously stand up and say “hey, this is all a lie, you know he’s lying to you and it caused an attack on the peaceful transition of power” to have her out there as a staunch conservative, a rock-ribbed conservative making that case and sort of painstakingly laying it out for the January 6 committee with a lot of Republican voices, people who worked for him, that has just been the closest we’ve come to really getting at the truth and getting at some form of accountability.

PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: Sara Longwell our guest until 9:30 if you want to ask her questions, Republicans 202.748.8001, Democrats 202.748.8000 and Independents 202.748.8002. Sara Longwell I want to play a little bit of Liz Cheney’s speech from last night and on the other side of it get your comments on it.

LIZ CHENEY: We must be very clear-eyed about the threat we face, and about what is required to defeat it. I have said, since January 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Donald Trump is never again any where near the oval office, and I meant it. [Applause] This is a fight for all of us, together. I’m a conservative Republican, I believe deeply in the principles and the ideals on which my party was founded, I love it’s history, and I love what our party has stood for, but I love my country more. So I ask you tonight to join me, as we leave here let us resolve that we will stand together, Republicans, Democrats and Independents against those who would destroy our republic, they are angry and they are determined, but they have not seen anything like the power of Americans united in defense of our constitution and committed to the cause of freedom. There is no greater power on this earth. And with God’s help, we will prevail.

PEDRO ECHEVARRIA: Sara Longwell, that’s representative Cheney, from yesterday, your thoughts on that closing statement, or the closing statements she made.

SARA LONGWELL: Yeah, well she sounds like a person who is not at the end of their story but at that beginning of their story, I think that what we’ve seen from Liz Cheney over the last many months has been a national, historical figure being forged, and I think she tends to see this thing through, regardless of what it means for her political career. And look, I don’t know what’s she’s gonna do, I don’t know if she’s gonna start an organization, I don’t know if she’s gonna run for President in a Republican primary and continue on a very large stage making this case, but I think she’s been extremely clear about what she wants to do and I very much support it which is she wants to keep Donald Trump from being President ever again, to keep him away from the White House, because he is an existential threat to democracy, to our country, to the rule of law, and so, I … a lot of the Republicans who’ve lost because they’ve kind of tried to stand up to Trump, they’ve kind of meekly slunk away, there’s been a lot of people who’ve retired rather than challenge him. She sounds defiant, she sounds like somebody who has a mission, and I am very excited to see what she does next and I look forward to supporting whatever that is.