Updated Feb 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

RNC says Jan. 6 rioters engaged in "legitimate political discourse"

Picture of the Capitol taken during the Jan. 6 riot

The Capitol insurrection. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The Republican National Committee on Friday said those involved the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection were involved in "legitimate political discourse."

Driving the news: The RNC on Friday voted to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for serving on the House Jan. 6 select committee, which the resolution called a "persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse."

What they’re saying: RNC chairperson Ronna McDaniel in a statement to Axios following the vote suggested the “legitimate political discourse” referred to in the resolution “had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol,” likely a reference to the rallies that preceded the riot.

  • “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line,” she said of them joining the committee. “That’s why Republican National Committee members and myself overwhelmingly support this resolution.”

The big picture: Former President Trump said last week that if he were to return to the White House in 2024, he may pardon people who have been charged and sentenced over their participation in the Capitol riot.

  • Few Republican lawmakers have denounced the attack. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) last summer called the events of that day a "peaceful protest."
  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Twitter spoke against Cheney's and Kinzinger's censure, saying that "[s]hame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol."

Don't forget: The Justice Department has arrested 725 people in connection to the riots in nearly all 50 states

Editor's note: This story has been updated with McDaniel's statement following the censure vote.

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