Republican leaders moved to censure GOP Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) on Thursday, advancing a resolution that would punish the lawmakers for being on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Members of a Republican National Committee subgroup unanimously passed the resolution on Thursday, and it will go before all 168 RNC members on Friday. It would formally chastise Cheney’s and Kinzinger’s efforts to undercut former President Donald Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Cheney and Kinzinger are were among the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 attack, and they have regularly spoken out against fellow Republicans for their unquestioning support of the former president.
They are the lone Republicans on the House select committee after party leadership pulled its support of the investigation.
The RNC document would, if passed, “immediately cease any and all support of them as members of the Republican Party for their behavior, which has been destructive to the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican Party and our republic, and is inconsistent with the position of the conference.”
The censure resolution does not seek to expel them from the party, an idea floated in an earlier proposal by a close Trump ally, David Bossie.
“We want to send a message that we’re disapproving of their conduct. It’s a middle ground,” RNC member Harmeet Dhillon said Thursday, according to The Associated Press. “This is not about being anti-Trump. There are many anti-Trump Republicans that are not included in this resolution. These two took a specific action to defy party leadership.”
Kinzinger, who is not facing reelection, fired back at the move, saying Republican leadership had allowed “conspiracies and toxic tribalism” to hinder “their ability to see clear-eyed.”
“I’ve been a member of the Republican Party long before Donald Trump entered the field,” Kinzinger said in a statement Thursday night. “My values and core beliefs remain the same and have not wavered …. 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.”
Cheney said party leaders had “made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election.” She has already been censured by the Wyoming Republican Party but is running for reelection this year and faces a primary challenger.
“I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump,” she said in a statement. “History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what.”