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Rep. Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation on Thursday in Washington, D.C.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Ex-Sen. Alan Simpson appears in new ad backing Cheney

The longtime Wyoming political fixture calls former President Trump's conduct after the 2020 election "twisted" in an interview.

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A new ad for Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney features former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, a political icon in the state, backing Cheney's re-election.

But in an interview with NBC News about the ad, the Wyoming political giant minced few words about his frustration with former President Donald Trump, who is backing a primary challenge against Cheney over her repeated criticism of the former president.

In the ad, Simpson joins a handful of others — including prominent Wyoming politicians — with a simple message: "Join me in voting for Liz Cheney on August 16th," Simpsons says, while the screen simply identifies him as "Al."

But Simpson was far more blunt about his feelings about Trump and his party's efforts against Cheney in an interview with NBC News.

"She’s not after Trump or hating Trump, she is stating what is obvious to many Americans: That this is a wrecking ball of democracy," Simpson said of Cheney's work on the Jan. 6 commission.

He went on to mock Trump's declaration to "Stop the Steal" as "Stop the Squeal," calling Trump a "spoiled brat" who is "at the root" of a "Machiavellian distortion of whatever this country stands for."

"This guy is so full of himself that he would overturn every kind of rule of law or Constitutional process because of his own ego, which is twisted," Simpson told NBC.

"I voted for him once," Simpson said, but "I'll never vote for him again — that's for goddamn sure."

Cheney’s opponent, lawyer and former Republican National Committeewoman Harriet Hageman, is backed by Trump. The congresswoman has faced criticism from them and other Republicans about her criticism of Trump and her vocal role as part of the Jan. 6 committee.

Simpson also downplayed reporting that Cheney's campaign is sending mailers to Democrats asking them to change their voter registration so they can vote for her, instead criticizing the state GOP for "having a purge of purity."

"That doesn’t bother me a whip, that’s been on the books in Wyomings through the decades," Simpson said.

"They just want somebody to do the work and be a Wyomingite or an American," he said of the state's voters. "They don't give a damn if they are a Republican or a Democrat, just if they have a head."

This is the Cheney campaign's third television ad of the cycle — her campaign has spent more than $850,000 on advertising so far, according to the ad-tracking firm AdImpact, while Hageman's campaign and two supportive super PACs have spent a total of about $508,000.