House GOP Leaders Shrug At RNC Calling Jan. 6 'Legitimate Political Discourse'

Kevin McCarthy claimed the RNC has been misunderstood, but did say that Capitol rioters belonged in jail.

WASHINGTON ― House Republican leaders are not upset that the Republican National Committee called the Capitol riot “legitimate political discourse.”

The RNC censured Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for participating in a Democrat-led committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress.

“Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse,” the resolution said.

The House Republican conference chair, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), told reporters Tuesday that “the RNC has every right to take any action,” adding that lawmakers are ultimately accountable to voters in their districts.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that the RNC did not intend the clear meaning of its own resolution. “Everybody knows” the rioters who caused damage “should be in jail,” he added.

“What they [the RNC] were talking about was the six RNC members who [the] Jan. 6 [committee] has subpoenaed who weren’t even here, who were in Florida that day,” McCarthy told CNN, ignoring the resolution’s reference to “ordinary citizens.”

It’s not clear which RNC members received subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee. The RNC’s resolution condemning Cheney and Kinzinger doesn’t specify any particular action the committee has taken except that it seems designed to “buoy the Democrat Party’s bleak prospects in the upcoming midterm elections.”

The resolution doesn’t condemn the Capitol riot, and doesn’t distinguish between the committee’s methods and whatever sort of investigation the RNC thinks would be more appropriate. Most House Republicans voted against forming the committee, which Democrats came up with after Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have established an independent commission.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said over the weekend that Cheney and Kinzinger were helping Democrats persecute ordinary citizens who “had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol.”

House Republicans purged Cheney from her leadership role last year because she told the truth about former President Donald Trump inciting the riot.

A handful of Senate Republicans have condemned the resolution, such as Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). “Nothing could be further from the truth than to consider the attack on the seat of democracy as legitimate political discourse,” Romney said.

Others, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), essentially backed the RNC, calling the committee investigating the riot a “partisan scam.”

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