Republican Leaders Vote To Formally Censure Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger

The resolution framed the violent 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol as "legitimate political discourse."

Republican leaders voted Friday to formally censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) as punishment for sitting on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The censure resolution also characterized the attack, which left at least seven people dead in connection with the violence, as “legitimate political discourse.”

The Republican National Committee’s 168 members opted by voice vote to rebuke the two lawmakers, who have spoken out against former President Donald Trump and his baseless claims about a stolen 2020 election.

The resolution, passed at the RNC meeting in Salt Lake City, declares the GOP will “cease any and all support” for Cheney and Kinzinger as members of the Republican Party. But it stops short of expelling them.

Cheney and Kinzinger were among the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 riot. They are the only two Republicans on the House select committee, which is investigating the attack without the backing of GOP leadership.

The measure chastises Cheney and Kinzinger for “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) are the only Republicans on the House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot.
Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) are the only Republicans on the House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot.
J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel defended appearing to downplay the Jan. 6 events. She said Republicans aren’t trying to characterize the entire attack as acceptable discourse — just the Democrat-led effort to unpack what happened that day.

“I have repeatedly condemned violence on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, this committee has gone well beyond the scope of the events of that day,” she tweeted Friday.

In a tweet Thursday, Cheney doubled down on her criticism of Trump and the party.

“The leaders of the Republican Party have made 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,” she said.

Kinzinger tweeted Thursday that he is “now even more committed to fighting conspiracies and lies.”

“I’ve been a member of the Republican Party long before Donald Trump entered the field. My values and core beliefs remain the same and have not wavered,” he said in a statement.

Cheney faces a Trump-backed primary opponent, Harriet Hageman, in her reelection bid. In an unprecedented move, the national GOP has pledged to financially support Hageman against an incumbent. Cheney still managed to outraise Hageman by millions of dollars in the last fundraising cycle.

Kinzinger isn’t running for reelection, nor is Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), who also broke with Republicans to support Trump’s impeachment.

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