RNC Censures Cheney, Kinzinger, Calls Jan. 6 “Legitimate Political Discourse”

The Republican National Committee (RNC), voted Friday to censure two GOP lawmakers in Congress for their anti-Trump positions and their attempts to hold President Trump and his allies responsible for the January 6 Capitol attack.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R.Wyoming), and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R.Illinois), will not be expelled from the party. However, their censure by the Republican Party will serve as a strong rebuke to their views on former President Donald Trump.

“We don’t want to disenfranchise those voters. But at the same time [sic], we want to send a message that we are disapproving of their conduct,” California Republican Harmeet Dhillon said.

The censure resolution itself, which was forwarded by the party’s Resolution Committee on Thursday and passed a vote on Friday afternoon, cites the lawmakers’ work with the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building. The resolution also points to the lawmakers’ efforts to “destroy President Trump” as a reason why they are being reprimanded by the party.

The Republican Party claims that Cheney, Kinzinger, and their involvement with the January 6 Commission, are part of the measure. were engaging in the “persecution” of Trump loyalists who attacked the Capitol while the 2020 presidential election was being certified, alarmingly describing the violence seen on that day as “legitimate political discourse.”

The censure measure appears to have the support of RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.

In spite of the resolution’s language, Dhillon insists that Cheney’s and Kinzinger’s views on Trump aren’t the reason why they are being censured.

“There are plenty of other people in the party who are anti-Trump whose names don’t appear in the resolution,” Dhillon said to Politico. “These two took specific action to defy party leadership.”

In anticipation of the vote Cheney issued a statementNoting that the Republican Party has taken a radical far right turn since Trump became its defacto leader leader.

“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,” Cheney wrote. “I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump.”

Some Democratic lawmakers came to Cheney and Kinzinger’s defense, pointing out that the censure resolution was indicative of how extreme the GOP has become.

“In today’s GOP no one is censured for crimes & corruption. Fomenting insurrection, insider trading, fraud, sex trafficking with a minor – all good!” tweeted Rep. Jared Huffman, a Democratic congressman in California. “But dare to OPPOSE crimes/corruption & it’s censure time.”

The censure is intended to punish Kinzinger and Cheney for their anti-Trump views but it could end up working in their favor. An analysis by NBC NewsRepublicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment have received more campaign donations than their pro-Trump counterparts — including Cheney, who raised four times more than her primary opponent Harriet Hageman in the last three months of last year.