Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back on the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) censure resolution against Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming for their participation in the Democrat-led Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“With regard to the suggestion that the RNC should be in the business of picking and choosing the Republicans who ought to be supported, traditionally the view of the national party committees is that we support all members of our party, regardless of their position on some issues,” McConnell said, adding that he has “confidence” in RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
“The issue is whether or not the RNC should sort of be singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority. That’s not the job of the RNC.”
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One reporter asked McConnell about a clause in the resolution that described the Jan. 6 committee as persecuting “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” Many members of the press and elected officials have interpreted that clause as describing the riot as “legitimate political discourse,” although McDaniel later said that it referred to subpoenas directed toward RNC members who “had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol.”
“We all were here. We saw what happened. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next. That’s what it was,” McConnell responded.
McConnell is the latest Republican senator to push back on the censure, which opened the door for the RNC to support Cheney’s chief primary challenger, attorney Harriet Hageman. Most Senate Republicans have argued that the party should be looking forward to the 2022 midterms and that focusing on the 2020 election is not helpful to its efforts to take back the House and Senate. (RELATED: ‘Sad Day For My Party’: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan Criticizes Censure Of Reps. Cheney, Kinzinger)
“We’ve got a lot of issues that we should be focusing on besides censuring two members of Congress because they have a different opinion,” West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito told Politico. “I thought, ‘free speech for everybody.”
“I don’t think you can kick out of the party everybody you disagree with. Or it’s going to be a minority party,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn added.