McConnell Decries RNC Censure of Cheney, Kinzinger, Calls Jan. 6 ‘A Violent Insurrection’

McConnell Decries RNC Censure of Cheney, Kinzinger, Calls Jan. 6 ‘A Violent Insurrection’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks to reporters following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 16, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Joseph Lord
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday decried the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) decision to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for their roles on the Democrat-dominated Jan. 6 Committee.

In its resolution censuring Cheney and Kinzinger, the RNC said that the Jan. 6 commission on which they serve as the only two GOP members, has shown “[a] disregard for minority rights, traditional checks and balances, due process, and adherence to other precedent and rules of the U.S. House and ... seem[s] intent on advancing a political agenda to buoy the Democrat Party’s bleak prospects in the upcoming midterm elections.

“Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger purport to be members of the Republican Party,” the RNC said, but “Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse, and they are both utilizing their past professed political affiliation to mask Democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes.”

In response the RNC announced the decision to firmly cut ties with the two controversial lawmakers, cutting them off from the recognition and support of the national GOP structure.

The decision drew mixed reactions, with some Republicans celebrating the decision as long overdue for members that many felt had stopped being Republicans long ago, while other Republicans decried the decision.

McConnell has now come out among the latter category, and in a statement describing the Jan. 6 rally as “a violent insurrection,” he decried the RNC’s decision.

“[The Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally] 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,” McConnell opined on Tuesday.

“The issue is whether or not the RNC should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views than the majority,” McConnell continued. “That’s not the job of the RNC.”

McConnell’s claim that the Jan. 6 rally constituted “a violent insurrection” is a controversial one.

Though practically every GOP lawmaker has decried the violence that occurred during the rally, many GOP lawmakers have also noted that the Jan. 6 commission has found scant evidence that what happened that day was part of a larger effort to overthrow the United States government.

Several Republicans have also argued that the breakdown of order can be attributed in part to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) decision not to send in National Guardsmen in advance of the rally, despite repeated requests to do so by former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund.

Republican critics of framing the event as “an insurrection” have said that the semantic device aids the Jan. 6 commission in what President Donald Trump has called “a partisan witch hunt.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has spoken out against the violence that occurred on Jan. 6, called the commission a “complete partisan scam.”

For critics of the Jan. 6 Committee like Trump the decision is an overdue one, but other GOP lawmakers are less happy with the decision.

Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have joined McConnell in coming out against the RNC’s decision.

Cornyn said that in a time when the GOP needs unity, the RNC censure “was not a unifying action.”

In a Twitter post immediately following the decision, Romney wrote: “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol. Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost.”

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, whose father was Mitt Romney’s brother, has reportedly been contacted by Romney about the decision. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has done likewise in the hope of getting the decision reversed.

Kinzinger announced early during the 117th Congress that he would not seek reelection. Cheney, however, has announced no such intention, but early polling results in her home state paint a bleak picture for the former vice president’s daughter.
The national RNC’s decision came after the Wyoming GOP had already voted to stop recognizing Cheney as a member.