Matt Gaetz rallied against Liz Cheney in her own state.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida took his campaign to remove Representative Liz Cheney from the House Republican leadership on the road on Thursday, telling several hundred people who gathered outside the Wyoming State Capitol that they were on the front lines of a battle against the party’s entrenched interests.
“We can stop them, and it starts right here in Wyoming,” Mr. Gaetz, a Republican, said to an enthusiastic, mostly maskless crowd where people waved signs and wore stickers that said “Impeach Liz Cheney!”
One person waved a Confederate flag. And at least one came with an AR-15-style rifle slung over his shoulder.
Supporters of former President Donald J. Trump have singled out Ms. Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, for her vote to impeach the president earlier this month. Mr. Gaetz has been the most visible and vocal among them, declaring that he is waging a war for “the soul of the Republican Party.”
Ms. Cheney’s allies criticized Mr. Gaetz for holding the event in her home state, which they said was unnecessary and reckless, coming just three weeks after a mob of violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington to protest his electoral loss.
The crowd was relatively tame as it stood and listened to Mr. Gaetz criticize Ms. Cheney’s “mean girl-style politics,” and erupted in cheers as the congressman described how he had recently spoken to Mr. Trump.
“President Trump is going to keep fighting for this country with each breath that he has,” Mr. Gaetz said.
He then played a recording of Donald Trump Jr. from his phone, who told the crowd, “It’s time to have change at the top.”
Ms. Cheney already has one opponent in the state legislature, Anthony Bouchard, who says he will run against her in the 2022 primary. The signs calling for her “impeachment” on Thursday were paid for by Mr. Bouchard’s campaign.