Feb 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

RNC chair defends censure of Cheney and Kinzinger after GOP backlash

Ronna McDaniel
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, on Nov. 6, 2021. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel defended the RNC's decision to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) in an op-ed in Townhall Tuesday and called media coverage of the action "patently false."

Why it matters: The censure of Cheney and Kinzinger earlier this week over their participation in the Jan. 6 select committee, which the RNC said amounted to "persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse," has been met with backlash from some Republicans.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said earlier Tuesday it is "not the job" of the RNC to single out Republican members who disagree with the party.
  • About 140 Republican leaders and former officials signed a statement out Monday condemning the RNC's decision to censure the lawmakers.

The big picture: McDaniel wrote in the op-ed that she and the RNC had repeatedly condemned the violence of Jan. 6, 2021.

  • But she said the select committee investigating the Capitol riot has "vastly exceeded its original purpose," and claimed the panel's work amounted to "political posturing, not pursuing justice."

What they're saying: "The awful events of that day do not justify Cheney or Kinzinger enabling a partisan committee whose real purpose seems to be helping Democrats’ electoral prospects at the cost of potentially ruining innocent people’s lives," she said.

  • "Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are cheapening the events of January 6th by participating in Nancy Pelosi's partisan committee."
  • "What Cheney and Kinzinger are engaged in goes much further than any policy disagreement. These two have permitted their party affiliation to be weaponized to allow the Democrats gross overreach and abuse of power."
  • McDaniel reiterated that "violence is not legitimate political discourse" before concluding that "media outlets pretending that the RNC believes otherwise are doing so in bad faith, and their lies should be called out for the cheap political stunts they are."

The other side: Ahead of her censure, Cheney accused Republican Party leaders of making themselves "willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy."

  • Kinzinger said that rather than focus their efforts on how to help the American people, "my fellow Republicans have chosen to censure two lifelong members of their party for simply upholding their oaths of office."
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