Last Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) formally censured Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for their involvement in the House’s special committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021. The Committee passed the motion in a voice vote. Officials believe it is the first time the RNC has censured sitting members of Congress. Committee members criticized the House panel for issuing what they view as overly broad subpoenas. Many Republicans feel the select committee is a “partisan scam,” as Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two Republicans serving on it. The pair joined eight other House Republicans in January 2021 when they voted to impeach then-President Trump on charges of “incitement of insurrection.”
The censure accuses the two lawmakers of “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel later suggested that “legitimate political discourse” referred to events that “had nothing to do with the violence at the Capitol.” Initially, members proposed Cheney and Kinzinger be expelled from the Republican Party, though the final motion stopped short of that. The censure calls for the RNC to “cease any and all support” of the two lawmakers, who it claims have harmed the Republican Party and been inconsistent with its positions. The vote quickly divided Republican officials. Some prominent Republicans defended the move, with former President Trump praising the RNC for its censure of “two horrible RINOs [Republicans in Name Only].” However, others criticized the RNC for its actions, like Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who all voted to convict former President Trump in the second impeachment trial last year. Yesterday, over 140 Republican figures signed a statement from the Renew America Movement condemning the RNC’s censure.
Cheney and Kinzinger both defended their actions, saying the censure would not impact their efforts on the select committee. Kinzinger announced last October that he would not seek reelection to the House in 2022 after new congressional maps placed him and another GOP lawmaker into the same district. Unlike Kinzinger, Cheney is running for reelection in her state’s congressional district and faces stiff competition in the August Republican primary, mostly from Trump-endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman. The victor in the primary will almost certainly win the general election later in November, as the district is a deeply Republican seat. Notably, the RNC’s censure and a changed rule allow them to financially back Hageman in the primary, though it is unclear whether it will do so.
Shockingly, the RNC censured Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger for working to uncover the truth about the horrific events of January 6, while they have done nothing to condemn insurrectionist sympathizers in their Party, like Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). The censure motion is nothing more than an attempt to delegitimize the House committee’s work as it increasingly uncovers top Republicans’ complicity in the breach of the Capitol. Republicans are trying to rewrite history, framing the violent and deadly riots at the Capitol as “legitimate political discourse.” Former President Trump and his allies peddled baseless conspiracies of widespread voter fraud, leading to the insurrection, and now the RNC is acting to cover up their involvement. Republicans have again chosen loyalty to Trump over the country they claim to serve.
The January 6 committee is a politically charged device for Democrats to push a political narrative. It is well time the Republican Party sided with the American people and began removing establishment RINOs out of power. If actual Republicans were on the January 6 committee, perhaps real investigations could commence. We might learn more about Ray Epps or why people ushered inside the Capitol by police are still being held in solitary without bail over a year later.