RNC Censures Cheney, Kinzinger for Their Role on Jan. 6 Committee

RNC Censures Cheney, Kinzinger for Their Role on Jan. 6 Committee
(L-R) Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the select committee investigating the events on Jan. 6 at the Capitol, speaks as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) listen during a committee meeting on Capitol Hill on Dec. 1, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Joseph Lord

The Republican National Committee (RNC) advanced a resolution on Thursday that would censure Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for their roles on the controversial House Jan. 6 Committee.

The resolution would officially strip Cheney and Kinzinger of the support of the GOP and would take away their recognition as members of the Republican Party by the RNC.

“The primary mission of the Republican Party is to elect Republicans who support the United States Constitution and share our values,” the RNC resolution said.

“The Conference must not be sabotaged by Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who have demonstrated, with actions and words, that they support Democrat efforts to destroy President [Donald] Trump more than they support winning back a Republican majority in 2022,” it said further down.

“Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger have engaged in actions in their positions as members of the January 6th Select Committee not befitting Republican members of Congress, which include the Committee’s disregard for minority rights, traditional checks and balances, due process, and adherence to other precedent and rules of the U.S. House and which seem intent on advancing a political agenda to buoy the Democrat Party’s bleak prospects in the upcoming midterm elections,” the resolution continued.

“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.

“[T]herefore be it resolved that the Republican National Committee hereby formally censures Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and shall 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 is a major development for the RNC, which has become increasingly frustrated by Kinzinger’s and Cheney’s support of the Jan. 6 commission, which has long faced accusations of rampantly partisan behavior.

Trump has called the committee a “witch hunt,” and many lawmakers in the House and Senate have echoed the sentiment.

Kinzinger announced early during the 117th Congress that he would not seek reelection, but Cheney has made no such commitment. Trump has already endorsed a challenger for Cheney, attorney Harriet Hageman, and early signs show that Hageman has a substantial lead over Cheney in the solid-red, one House seat state of Wyoming.
Following the advancement of the RNC resolution, Cheney defended herself in a two-part Twitter thread.

“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,” said Cheney.

“I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump. History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what.”

An investigation led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene into the treatment of Jan. 6 defendants found that those charged in connection to the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally had faced “nothing short of human rights violations.”
According to Greene, Jan. 6 defendants have been held for months in the D.C. jail, being denied visits from their family, religious services, bail, and even basic grooming, including being denied haircuts and razors to shave. A surprise investigation of the jail by the U.S. Marshall Service in January identified “deficiencies” in the D.C. jail, including evidence that prisoners had had their water shut off.

Cheney and Kinzinger, like other members of the Jan. 6 panel, have done nothing to respond to or address these serious allegations.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also took to Twitter to defend Cheney and Kinzinger.

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

The resolution will have little effect on Kinzinger, given that he has decided not to run again. But it could be the nail in the coffin for Cheney’s political career, as it makes it even more unlikely that Trump-loyal Wyomingans will vote to renominate her later this year.