The Trump Loyalist Threatening To Unseat Liz Cheney Is An Anti-Conservation Zealot

Wyoming lawyer Harriet Hageman, left, is trying to oust incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). The first election is Aug. 16 and polling reveals Hageman with a commanding lead. (Photograph: Illustration: Chris McGonigal/HuffPost; Images: Getty Photos)

Wyoming lawyer Harriet Hageman, left, is trying to oust incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). The first election is Aug. 16 and polling reveals Hageman with a commanding lead. (Photograph: Illustration: Chris McGonigal/HuffPost; Images: Getty Photos)

In 2018, pure assets lawyer Harriet Hageman ran for governor of Wyoming on a pledge to “reform federal land administration and entry” and battle burdensome federal rules.

Public lands have been a hot-button difficulty in midterm elections throughout the West that 12 months. Looking and conservation teams had rallied to defeat an anti-public lands invoice a 12 months earlier, launched by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), that might have offered off 3.3 million acres of federal land in 10 Western states, together with Wyoming. And the Trump administration was advancing its assault on public land and environmental protections — what in the end proved to be the most anti-conservation file of any administration in historical past.

In August 2018, the conservation group Wyoming Wildlife Federation hosted a candidate discussion board for the state’s gubernatorial race. When requested about her imaginative and prescient for federal land administration, Hageman voiced her assist for transferring management of public lands to states, starting with 1 million acres in Wyoming as a part of a pilot venture, Excessive Nation Information reported on the time. 

Hageman’s remark brought on a stir inside Wyoming’s looking, outside recreation and conservation communities. After the discussion board, the Wyoming Hunters and Anglers Alliance, then a rising looking and public lands advocacy group, endorsed Mark Gordon, Hageman’s opponent, and the present Republican governor. The group cited the candidates’ views on public land switch in its choice, in line with Excessive Nation Information. 

Hageman in the end positioned third within the main subject, securing simply 21% of the vote to Gordon’s 33%. Dwayne Meadows, who on the time was govt director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, an affiliate of the Nationwide Wildlife Federation, instructed HuffPost that Hageman and different candidates’ hostility towards public lands swung the election in Gordon’s favor. 

“I believe it did affect it,” he stated of the end result. “I actually do.” 

4 years later, Hageman is again on the marketing campaign path, working to oust GOP Rep. Liz Cheney. Solely this time, her file and views on the federal property are barely a part of the dialogue. As an alternative, the race has largely turn into a referendum on former President Donald Trump and Cheney’s participation on the Home choose committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. 

“The voters in Wyoming are so enamored with Trump that anyone who assaults him, resembling Cheney has, that turns into the central difficulty, the place hastily individuals aren’t occupied with what else Hageman would convey to the plate,” stated Cheyenne resident Earl DeGroot, a self-declared average Republican, sportsman and member of Maintain It Public, Wyoming, a coalition of public lands advocates. 

“This whole race is boiling right down to Cheney’s work on the Jan. 6 committee,” he added. “I believe there’s so much at stake, and folks aren’t trying on the points.”

Republican U.S. House candidate Harriet Hageman walks on stage to introduce former President Donald Trump at a rally on May 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming. Trump endorsed Hageman in the race. (Photo: Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)

Republican U.S. Home candidate Harriet Hageman walks on stage to introduce former President Donald Trump at a rally on Might 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming. Trump endorsed Hageman within the race. (Photograph: Photograph by Chet Unusual/Getty Photos)

Republican U.S. Home candidate Harriet Hageman walks on stage to introduce former President Donald Trump at a rally on Might 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming. Trump endorsed Hageman within the race.  (Photograph: Photograph by Chet Unusual/Getty Photos)

Public lands and the way to handle them is a large difficulty in Wyoming, as it’s in all Western states the place the federal authorities owns a big share of land. Almost half of Wyoming is federally owned and its outside recreation {industry} generates roughly $4.5 billion yearly in shopper spending. A survey by Colorado Faculty earlier this 12 months discovered that 88% of Wyoming residents think about points involving clear water, wildlife and public lands when deciding who to assist for elected workplace. Moreover, 78% stated they’d visited nationwide public lands greater than twice prior to now 12 months, and 71% stated they assist creating extra protected federal websites.

John Gale, conservation director at Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, stated public lands are “critically essential” for looking, fishing and outside entry and have been a “unifying drive” in recent times. However in Wyoming and elsewhere, false claims of a stolen 2020 election have sucked the oxygen out of the room, he stated.

“In a spot like Wyoming, public lands used to characteristic prominently,” Gale stated. “The politics of the day have distracted from these points, so they aren’t even a spotlight in any respect. And I believe it’s disheartening to see this lack of deal with actually essential points that impression individuals again house.”

ReTrumplican Flip-Flop

For 3 a long time, Hageman has been sparring with environmentalists, suing federal businesses over land use selections and advocating for transferring management of federal lands to states. It’s a file of anti-conservation, anti-government zealotry that when earned her the nickname “Depraved Witch of the West” amongst environmentalists — a title she embraced.

Come subsequent 12 months, Hageman could possibly be Wyoming’s new at-large congresswoman and, if she has it her approach, a member of the Home committee with jurisdiction over vitality improvement, public lands and wildlife. Polls have proven Hageman with a commanding lead over Cheney. The winner of the GOP main on Aug. 16 is all however assured to sail to victory within the November basic election. 

This whole race is boiling right down to Cheney’s work on the Jan. 6 committee. I believe there’s so much at stake, and folks aren’t trying on the points.Cheyenne resident Earl DeGroot

At the beginning, Hageman has tied her Senate bid to Trump — a transfer that has required a dizzying degree of flip-flopping. In 2016, Hageman known as Trump “racist and xenophobic” and labored unsuccessfully to strip him of the Republican presidential nomination. Now vying for Congress in a darkish purple state, she is touting her endorsement from Trump, calling him “the best president of my lifetime” and vowing “to do all the things in my energy to Make America Nice Once more — Once more.”

Hageman has additionally adopted Trump and Republicans’ lead in viciously attacking Cheney for her efforts to carry Trump accountable for inciting the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in January 2021.

“We’re fed up with the Jan. 6 fee and people individuals who suppose that they will gaslight us,” she shouted at a “Save Wyoming” rally with Trump in June, drawing uproarious applause. “And we’re fed up with Liz Cheney.” 

The identical 12 months that she condemned Trump, Hageman endorsed Cheney’s congressional bid, calling her a “pal” and a “confirmed, brave, constitutional conservative,” as CNN’s KFile reported. She additionally decried “concerted efforts to drive true conservatives to sit down down and shut up” earlier than including, “these efforts have by no means labored on me and I do know that they won’t work on and don’t have any impact on Liz Cheney.”

With Hageman, Wyoming would get greater than a loyal Trump convert to exchange a prime nemesis of Trump who, as Hageman accurately forecast in 2016, hasn’t backed down within the face of monumental strain from her occasion. They’d additionally get a 59-year-old lawyer and rancher who was carrying the anti-environment, anti-government torch and denying the clear realities of local weather change lengthy earlier than Trump ever got here alongside.

“I’ve been combating for you, and profitable, in opposition to the Environmental Safety Company, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service and the Division of Agriculture,” Hageman stated on the June rally.

Hageman’s marketing campaign didn’t reply to HuffPost’s requests for an interview.

Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman speaks at a rally at the Teton County Fair & Rodeo Grounds on June 14, 2022, in Jackson, Wyoming. (Photo: Photo by Natalie Behring/Getty Images)

Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman speaks at a rally on the Teton County Truthful & Rodeo Grounds on June 14, 2022, in Jackson, Wyoming. (Photograph: Photograph by Natalie Behring/Getty Photos)

Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman speaks at a rally on the Teton County Truthful & Rodeo Grounds on June 14, 2022, in Jackson, Wyoming. (Photograph: Photograph by Natalie Behring/Getty Photos)

Proud Environmental Foe 

Hageman grew up on a ranch exterior Fort Laramie, in japanese Wyoming, and graduated with a legislation diploma from the College of Wyoming in 1989. She talks usually concerning the federal authorities and Washington bureaucrats being the best risk to Wyoming’s financial system and way of life. 

Over time, Hageman has repeatedly gone to bat in opposition to federal regulators on behalf of farmers, ranchers, {industry}, water districts, and state and native governments. She is presently senior litigation counsel on the New Civil Liberty Alliance, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based agency that has waged authorized battles in opposition to federal emissions and different environmental guidelines, COVID-19 mandates and gun restrictions. 

Hageman’s highest-profile authorized battle occurred within the early 2000s when she was a key participant in Wyoming’s battle in opposition to the Clinton administration’s so-called “roadless rule.” Signed in 2001, the conservation rule prohibits constructing roads and harvesting timber on 58.5 million acres of nationwide forest lands throughout the nation. In 2003, a federal decide in Wyoming blocked the rule from taking impact. A separate court docket reinstated the rule in 2006, solely to have the Wyoming decide once more invalidate it in 2008. A federal appeals court docket upheld the rule in 2011. 

Like many conservatives, Hageman is a vocal critic of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), some of the essential legal guidelines for shielding imperiled crops and animals. In 2009, she represented a coalition of agricultural pursuits and looking guides in a lawsuit in opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the administration of grey wolves in Wyoming. 

Hageman argues that the ESA has turn into a device for “radical environmentalists” to “cease improvement, management land and water use, and forestall the development and upkeep of much-needed infrastructure initiatives.” And she or he has warned that conservationists wish to “usher in all of the endangered species from all around the world and launch them” in Wyoming. 

“They’ll merely transfer the individuals off and usher in lions, elephants and cheetahs,” she stated in 2011.

Wolves from the Wapiti Lake pack feed on a dead bison in Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming, in January 2018. (Photo: Photo by Jacob W. Frank/National Park Service via AP)

Wolves from the Wapiti Lake pack feed on a lifeless bison in Yellowstone Nationwide Park, in Wyoming, in January 2018. (Photograph: Photograph by Jacob W. Frank/Nationwide Park Service through AP)

Wolves from the Wapiti Lake pack feed on a lifeless bison in Yellowstone Nationwide Park, in Wyoming, in January 2018.  (Photograph: Photograph by Jacob W. Frank/Nationwide Park Service through AP)

Hageman’s authorized profession has aligned her with a few of the nation’s most radical anti-federal lands advocates. She served for years on the board of litigation for Mountain States Authorized Basis, a right-wing, industry-funded group as soon as described because the “litigating arm of the Clever Use Motion.” William Perry Pendley, a conservative lawyer with excessive anti-government and anti-environmentalism views, served because the group’s president for almost three a long time earlier than the Trump administration tapped him to steer the Federal Bureau of Land Administration. The so-called “wise-use motion” was a gaggle of anti-government organizations that gained momentum within the Eighties and pushed to spice up mining, drilling and logging on federal lands whereas portray environmentalists as home terrorists.

In 2016, Hageman was a keynote speaker on the American Lands Council’s (ALC) annual convention in Salt Lake Metropolis. The Utah-based nonprofit advocates for the “well timed and orderly switch of federal public lands to keen states for native management that can present higher public entry, higher environmental well being, and higher financial productiveness.” Ken Ivory, a Republican state consultant from Utah and longtime chief of the pro-land-transfer motion, co-founded ALC in 2012 and led it till 2016.

On the convention, Hageman insisted that the U.S. is “transferring to the purpose the place the federal authorities is dictating just about each facet of our lives.” America will turn into a socialist nation if we don’t rein within the federal authorities, she declared.

“Why do we’d like all these federal businesses?” she requested. “We’re sovereign.”

Hageman has dismissed local weather change as a “rip-off” and helped advance the right-wing disinformation marketing campaign in opposition to President Joe Biden’s conservation objective of defending 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. She has repeated conspiratorial speaking factors concerning the “30×30” initiative being a large federal “land seize.” And in her August 2021 opinion piece, Hageman declared with out proof that 30×30 is “deliberately designed to make us but once more depending on international, and infrequently hostile, governments for our vitality assets” and can “rapidly and negatively impression our way of life, housing prices, meals manufacturing, and the atmosphere.”  

The Biden administration has dismissed such claims and stated it’s dedicated to “collaboration, assist for voluntary and locally-led conservation and honoring of tribal sovereignty and personal property rights.” 

‘A Rock And A Onerous Place’

It’s unclear if Hageman’s flip-flop on Trump and Cheney boils right down to easy political opportunism. Or if she got here round after the Trump administration took a wrecking ball to environmental safeguards and prioritized fossil gas manufacturing above virtually all the things else. Perhaps it’s each.

What is evident is that by June 2020, Hageman had performed a full 180. That month she was a keynote speaker at an anti-federal lands occasion that Trump’s Inside Division hosted at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The occasion was organized by the American Agri-Girls coalition and titled “Federal Land Insurance policies: The Good, the Dangerous and the Ugly.” For greater than two hours, Hageman and Myron Ebell, a distinguished local weather change denier and advocate of shrinking the federal property, have been amongst those that grumbled concerning the quantity of land the federal authorities owns and railed in opposition to federal land administration businesses, together with the one they have been standing in. Hageman plugged her pitch for pilot initiatives that might give states the authority to handle giant swaths of public land as they see match and earn revenues off these assets over 20- to 25-year durations. She additionally expressed her appreciation for the Trump administration’s land administration priorities. 

“Proper now, we’ve got an administration in place that desires to alter issues and perceive the importance of those points,” Hageman stated. “However I don’t know who’s coming after him and neither do you. We’ve got to guarantee that we’re doing issues at the moment that can have long-term impacts by way of federal land administration.” 

Unsurprisingly, Hageman has condemned Biden’s each transfer, together with on vitality and environmental insurance policies, portray him a “puppet of the novel Left.” She has additionally accused Cheney of “teaming up” with Biden and different Democrats who she says are waging a “struggle” in opposition to Trump and harming Wyoming’s fossil gas {industry}.

Hageman usually knock Cheney for being vice-chair of the Jan. 6 committee however now not a member of the Home Pure Sources committee, which has oversight over federal land administration businesses. That “demonstrates that she doesn’t have our greatest pursuits at coronary heart, she has her greatest pursuits at coronary heart,” Hageman instructed right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza in a June interview

However for all Hageman’s speak about Cheney being some kind of liberal ally, the incumbent is something however. She has confirmed a dependable pro-industry, anti-environment vote, sustaining an abysmal 6% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters. In 2017, she voted in favor of a invoice that might have made it simpler for Congress to pawn off management over federal lands to states. She additionally supported Pendley’s nomination to steer the Bureau of Land Administration, calling him a “patriot” who “is aware of as a lot as anybody about land and useful resource points.” 

Throughout Trump’s 4 years in workplace, Cheney voted according to his place 93% of the time, in line with a FiveThirtyEight evaluation

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks during the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol hearing to present previously unseen material and hear witness testimony on July 12, 2022. (Photo: Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks in the course of the Home choose committee to analyze the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol listening to to current beforehand unseen materials and listen to witness testimony on July 12, 2022. (Photograph: Photograph by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Name, Inc through Getty Photos)

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks in the course of the Home choose committee to analyze the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol listening to to current beforehand unseen materials and listen to witness testimony on July 12, 2022.  (Photograph: Photograph by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Name, Inc through Getty Photos)

Cheney’s marketing campaign declined to reply to HuffPost’s questions concerning the race, however in an electronic mail identified that she serves as a vice chair of the Congressional Western Caucus, an all-Republican physique that promotes drilling, mining and different improvement throughout the West. Moreover, the e-mail famous she has launched laws to, amongst different issues, reform environmental critiques and to “shield non-public property rights from potential federal overreach that could possibly be part of the Biden Administration’s 30×30 initiative that might lock up public lands.” 

In some ways, Cheney and Hageman are in lockstep of their assist for extraction and improvement on public lands, Dwayne Meadows stated. Nonetheless, he and DeGroot agree that Hageman poses a much bigger risk to federal lands in Wyoming and throughout the West. 

“If Hageman wins, you’ll get somebody who doesn’t get up and is pragmatic about public lands points,” Meadows stated.

DeGroot added, “It’s fairly frankly a alternative between a rock and a tough place.”

Mark Squillace, a professor of pure assets legislation on the College of Colorado Boulder, taught Hageman within the Eighties on the College of Wyoming. He instructed HuffPost he remembers her as “good, self-confident and well-spoken.” And though he doesn’t bear in mind having an impression of her political opinions again then, these leanings and her opposition to environmental rules didn’t come as a shock. 

What did come as a shock was Hageman’s “embrace of Trump’s lies concerning the 2020 election and her overt hostility to Liz Cheney for voting her conscience,” Squillace stated. 

“I believe Harriet is formidable and she or he noticed a gap when Cheney determined to interrupt from Trump,” he added.

Hageman has toed the occasion line concerning the 2020 presidential election. Throughout a debate in June, she falsely claimed that there are “severe questions on” outcomes — there aren’t; Biden gained — and plugged “2000 Mules,” the discredited documentary by D’Souza that purports to point out election fraud in a number of key swing states.

The Wyoming I lived in again within the Eighties and ’90s was a much more tolerant place… I don’t recall many Republicans again then embracing the positions of the right-wing ideologues”Mark Squillace, a professor of pure assets legislation on the College of Colorado Boulder

Squillace sees Hageman’s marketing campaign as symbolic of a much bigger political transformation within the state — one he has struggled to make sense of.  

“The Wyoming I lived in again within the Eighties and ’90s was a much more tolerant place,” he stated. “Positive, it was conservative, however its politics have been libertarian, supporting individuals like [former Republican Sen.] Al Simpson and searching favorably on issues of non-public autonomy like abortion rights. I don’t recall many Republicans again then embracing the positions of the right-wing ideologues that appear to have gained favor in Wyoming at the moment.”

If Hageman defeats Cheney — restricted out there polling has proven Hageman main by as a lot as 22 share factors — will probably be much less due to her pure useful resource credentials, and extra that she handcuffed herself to Trump and his lies concerning the 2020 election. 

That’s not distinctive amongst Republican candidates in 2022; it’s a pattern. However there could also be no race within the nation the place such a technique is extra prone to work.

This text initially appeared on HuffPost and has been up to date.

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