On the road, Dean Phillips finds inspiration in Liz Cheney

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Concord, New Hampshire – Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips Bring Donald Trump And Joe Biden Often during his underdog presidential campaign. But another name has also become a fixture at Phillips campaign events in New Hampshire: Liz Cheney.

Phillips cited the former No. 3 Republican House candidate at nearly every campaign event in the week leading up to the New Hampshire primary. The Minnesota Democrat has held up Cheney as an exemplar of the “principle above party” principle — which saw her lose her seat in Congress over her outspoken opposition to Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — which Phillips used to justify his challenge against Biden in the presidential election. Under the pretext that the president is no longer qualified for his position.

Phillips says he was inspired by Cheney, even if it cost him his political career.

“She literally left the Democratic leadership table in the House. “I resigned because it completely goes against my principles,” Phillips said during a campaign event in Concord on Sunday. “I saw Liz Cheney standing up for principles, and I thought now was my time, too.”

Phillips told reporters in Manchester on Monday that he and Cheney, who lost the 2022 GOP primary to a Trump-backed challenger, “communicate sometimes” and have been in touch since he launched his long-running presidential bid in October.

Liz Cheney on NBC

Liz Cheney on NBC

“We’re not that politically aligned. But this is one area where the principle of preserving democracy is probably more important than anything else. Yes, we’re definitely in touch with that,” Phillips said.

Phillips frequently credits Cheney with criticizing Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, supporting Trump’s second impeachment and helping to lead the House investigation into the attack despite the political risks of such endeavors. He has stated that her political sacrifices inspired him to pursue a presidential run.

“[I’m] “I’m a Democrat before you today who ran an ad for Liz Cheney in the Wyoming primary, because I saw the principle on display,” Phillips said in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Monday. “I don’t care what my party thinks. She deserves to tell the truth to the country. She is a person of principle.”

“She lost her entire career. So did I, but for good reason.”

Phillips says he has been “excommunicated” from his party for launching a primary campaign against President Biden and calls the incumbent the weakest choice to take on Trump in 2024.

“Do you know what happened to her because she had the audacity to be principled and stand by her oath to our Constitution? She was excommunicated. The leadership asked her to leave her party,” Phillips said Sunday in Hampton, New Hampshire.

“I had the audacity to exercise democracy by running for president by coming to Concord and offering a fee of $1,000 to run for president. Do you know what got me? I was basically kicked out of the Democratic Party,” Phillips added.

Phillips accuses his colleagues of secretly acknowledging Biden’s electoral weakness in a similar way that Cheney accused her Republican colleagues of not wanting to reveal their own concerns about Trump.

“I’ve seen the same disease that has infected the right, which is quietly saying terrible things about Donald Trump, and then standing in front of the cameras publicly and saying something completely different, lying to America,” Phillips said at the Concord event. “I saw my colleagues in the Democratic caucus starting to do the same thing.”

Cheney criticized Fox News for not doing enough to expose Donald Trump’s election conspiracies. Phillips regularly targets MSNBC for ignoring what he describes as the Democratic Party’s suppression of his campaign and the Democratic primaries more broadly.

“I hope MSNBC is here today. I say that because I don’t think Americans are being told the truth about what’s really going on,” Phillips said. “It’s a shame. This is a mistake. it’s dangerous.”

Most of all, Phillips says what connects him and Cheney is their willingness to confront uncomfortable truths within their party despite the cost to their personal careers.

“You all know I torpedoed my career in Congress,” Phillips said. “I knew I was going to do it the day I announced my candidacy. I would never run again. But I did it…so as not to blow up this entire country,” Phillips said.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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