The Republican National Committee (RNC), took the rare step of censing two GOP legislators in the House of Representatives because they participated in a Democratic-dominated House select committee that was investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The RNC rejected Reps. Liz Cheney from Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger from Illinois in an overwhelming voice vote of committee members who gathered at Salt Lake City, Utah for their general session of the winter meeting. In the resolution, the RNC stated that it would not support them as Republican Party members.
Two vocal GOP critics of Trump were the most prominent of the 10 House Republicans who voted last year to impeach him. They incited the deadly storming at the Capitol by right-wing extremists to stop Congressional certification of President Biden’s 2020 victory. The only two Republicans on the panel that is investigating the attack on Capitol are Kinzinger and Cheney.
In its resolution, the RNC argued that Cheney, Kinzinger, and others are “participating” in Democratic-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged with legitimate political discourse.
Ronna McDaniel, RNC chair, stated in a statement that “Liz Cheney was crossing a line.” They joined Nancy Pelosi, [House Speaker] in Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged legitimate political discourse that had no connection to violence at the Capitol. This is why members of the Republican National Committee and I overwhelmingly support this resolution.”
The resolution that passed the full RNC was diluted from the original version. It was presented by David Bossie (a Maryland committee member and longtime Trump ally). The original resolution demanded the removal of Cheney and Kinzinger, both from the House GOP conference.
“Republicans must stand together, and what has happened to the Jan.6 investigation is that they’ve become a one-sided Witch Hunt, where they only go after Republicans,” Steve Stepanek (the New Hampshire GOP chair) told Fox News. He was also one of the dozen co-sponsors for the resolution. “We are sending a message to the party that we don’t support these people and should be censured,” said Stepanek.
Stepanek also pointed out that Kinzinger and Cheney weren’t appointed by Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader.
McCarthy would have been troubled if the national party committee had called for Cheney’s ouster. Cheney was removed from her number three leadership position last spring but McCarthy has yet to respond to calls by Trump loyalists at the House Republican conference for Cheney and Kinzinger to be fired. Kinzinger decided not to run for re-election.
Fox News’ Stepanek stated that the RNC resolution was watered-down because “we didn’t want to usurp the authority of the Republicans on the House…It’s up Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans decide if they want further steps.”
After the initial vote in committee, Cheney and Kinzinger criticized the RNC’s decision on Thursday.
Cheney was charged that the Republican Party leaders have become willing hostages to a man who admitted he tried to overturn a Presidential election and suggested he would pardon Jan.6 defendants, some of which have been charged with seditious conspiracies.
She also stressed that she was a conservative constitutionalist and did not recognize members of her party who had abandoned the Constitution in order to embrace Donald Trump. Their fate will be decided by history. I will not stop fighting for our constitutional republic. “No matter what.”
Some members of the party’s Committee didn’t like the resolution.
Bill Palatucci from New Jersey, who was a member of the national committee, said that “focusing on Liz Cheney during a national RNC conference is distracting and counterproductive.” We should be focusing on Democrats and not Republicans.
Trump is constantly targeting Cheney as she campaigns for reelection. Former president Harriet Hageman is backing Wyoming lawyer Harriet Hageman who is challenging Cheney in the August GOP primary. Trump and his associates have also cleared the GOP primary field from some of the Republicans challenging Cheney.
The Wyoming GOP has taken a step that may prevent the RNC from indirectly supporting the effort to defeat Cheney in her bid for reelection.
Fox News confirmed that Wyoming’s state GOP committee had signed a rule and submitted the same to the RNC. This allows the national party committee of the party to support the state party in the primary. The RNC wouldn’t have been able to participate in the contest if the state party had not signed the rule.
Sources close to the RNC stated that Cheney’s move was initiated by Wyoming GOP, which in November voted not to recognize him as a Republican.
Cheney’s spokesperson responded that Wyoming GOP Chair Frank Eathorne and Republican National Committee were trying to assert their will, and take away the voice and vote of Wyoming citizens before one has been cast.