McConnell calls out Republican censure resolution: ‘That’s not the job of the RNC’
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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Tuesday distanced himself from the Republican National Committee’s move last week to censure two Republicans serving on a House committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The RNC took a rare step on Friday to censure Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for sitting on the Democrat-dominated House select committee investigating the attack. The resolution states the RNC will “no longer support them as members of the Republican Party.”
McConnell, however, said the national party should not be singling out members of Congress based on their political positions.
“Traditionally, the view of the national party committees is that we support all members of our party, regardless of their positions on some issues,” McConnell told reporters at a Capitol news conference Tuesday.
Asked if he still has confidence in RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, McConnell said, “I do.”
“But the issue is whether or not the RNC should be, sort of, singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority,” McConnell continued. “That’s not the job of the RNC.”
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The RNC, in its resolution, argued that Cheney and Kinzinger are “participating in a Democratic-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
That language drew backlash from Democrats, who said the RNC is engaging in revisionist history by characterizing a violent attack on democracy as “legitimate.” And some Republicans in the Senate aside from McConnell have already expressed frustration that the RNC would put up a resolution that has the effect of dividing the party.
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Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, spoke up following the censure vote on Friday, saying: “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol.”
For his part, McConnell pushed back on attempts to whitewash the gravity of what happened on Jan. 6.
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“It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next,” McConnell said Tuesday.
Cheney and Kinzinger both voted to impeach former President Trump for inciting an insurrection and agreed to sit on the Jan. 6 committee to investigate the attack. After Republicans blocked the formation of an independent nonpartisan commission, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Then formed the special House committee. Republicans then boycotted participating on it after Pelosi vetoed two of GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointments to the panel. Kinzinger and Cheney are serving at Pelosi’s request.
The RNC Tuesday stood by the censure resolution and affirmed it condemns violence from Jan. 6.
“The RNC has repeatedly condemned all acts of political violence and lawlessness, including what occurred on Jan. 6. Unfortunately, this committee has gone well beyond the scope of the events of that day, and is why the RNC overwhelmingly passed a resolution censuring Liz. Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, “the RNC said in a statement to Gadget Clock Digital. “Republicans in both chambers of Congress and across the country remain united in our efforts to hold Democrats and Biden accountable for their failures to take back the House and Senate come November.”
Gadget Clock’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.