RNC: ‘1/6 Was Legitimate Political Discourse’
This was January 6th.
This is not “legitimate political discourse.” pic.twitter.com/lKgbVyVcJr
— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) February 4, 2022
“If the price of being willing to tell the truth and get to the bottom of what happened on January 6, and make sure that those who are responsible are held accountable is a censure, then I am absolutely going to continue to stand up for what I knew was right. And I think that it is a sad day for the party of Lincoln that that’s where we are.” -Rep. Liz Cheney
If you were somehow in the wilds of Africa and missed the brouhaha over the weekend, on Friday the GOP governing body officially endorsed the January 6, 2021, insurrection as “legitimate political discourse.”
It was part of the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) censure of GOP Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for the grievous offense of defending the Constitution of the United States against an insurrection intended to prevent certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Republicans, feeling the heat that two of their own had the audacity to be on a committee investigating the who, what, when, where, and why of 1/6, apparently felt that an example had to be made of the two who must obviously be on their high horses thinking they were better than everyone else. Right?
Actually, no. In a nutshell, Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger chose truth over Trump, and they have been besieged by their fellow Republicans ever since including Kevin McCarthy who booted Rep. Cheney out of her leadership position in the caucus. Cheney and Kinzinger had already been censured by their state committees because they didn’t walk lockstep with the party/Trump and, in the party of Trump, there is no allowance for dissent. None.
A quick look at the bona fides of those who must be censured: Adam Kinzinger is an Air Force pilot who joined in 2003 and was twice deployed to Iraq. He continues to serve our country today not only in the halls of Congress but also as a Lt. Colonel in the Air National Guard. Liz Cheney is from a very conservative public service-oriented family (her father was VP for George W. Bush, chief of staff for Gerald Ford, Wyoming Congressman and Minority Whip, and Secretary of Defense). She spent years in public service including the State Department before joining Congress in 2017. Both representatives are solid Republicans working for their constituents, not showboating for publicity.
When Trump supporters violently attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in a vain attempt to prevent certification of the 2020 presidential election, Republican members were at first rocked by the unprecedented events while calling for investigations. However, within a couple of weeks they did a 180 and have spent the past year attempting to whitewash history and gaslight anyone who believes 1/6 is not something to be swept under the rug.
Because Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger believed those involved in such violence against the nation should be held responsible, and because both voted to impeach Trump and became part of the 1/6 Select Committee to unravel how such an attack could take place, the GOP felt compelled to publicly shame them. Never mind that Cheney and Kinzinger were doing exactly what Republicans would have been expected to do – and did – in the past.
That’s some high level of neglect by the GOP – or perhaps arrogance – to be able to ignore the Constitution so blatantly for political posterity especially after years of pointing an accusatory finger at the Democratic side of the political aisle.
There was no discussion with the RNC vote. Some “no” voices could be heard in the group during the verbal vote but they were ignored as the resolution was swiftly moved along with a quick, “The ayes have it,” flip the page, and on to the next issue.
I suspect that moment will have repercussions for decades to come.
The National Review was blunt: “The Republican National Committee has voted to formally censure Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for ‘actions in their positions as members of the January 6th Select Committee not befitting Republican members of Congress.’ This is both morally repellent and politically self-destructive.”
The editorial board at the Washington Post picked it up from there:
When in recent memory has the House been more threatened as when members had to barricade the doors to the chamber against a dangerous mob screaming for their blood? By insisting on a full probe and accountability for one of the country’s lowest moments since the Civil War, Ms. Cheney is waging what, within her party, is an increasingly lonely battle against those seeking to pervert the U.S. system of government for personal gain.
Over the past year, Republican leaders have chosen a different course, putting in their lot with the insurrectionists. Since Jan. 6, 2021, senior party officials have gone from acknowledging Mr. Trump’s guilt to punishing those, such as Ms. Cheney, who continue to speak up about a tragedy that no American should forget. It remains to be seen what punishment former vice president Mike Pence will endure following a Friday speech in which he rebuked Mr. Trump’s claims that he could have overturned the election on Jan. 6.
Republicans assailing Ms. Cheney and siding with Mr. Trump and his lies about the 2020 election are the ones who imperil the republic. By asserting, as their censure resolution did Friday, that truth is fiction and patriots are turncoats, they have exposed the dark, festering core of what their party is becoming: an unruly revolt against fact and reason that betrays the principles leaders, such as former president Ronald Reagan, championed. [emphasis added]
The RNC tried to walk it back immediately afterward when their actions boomeranged on them or, as Charlie Sykes noted, “Republican leaders seemed to recognize almost immediately that they had blundered, and tried to insist that the language was never meant to apply to rioters who assaulted the Capitol.”
Too little, too late. The cat was out of the bag and no amount of gaslighting was going to change the fact that the quiet part had been said out loud and voted on and passed.
Friday’s RNC actions caused a handful of elected Republicans nationwide to publicly speak out: Rep. Liz Cheney, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Mike Pence, Mitt Romney, Bill Cassidy, Ben Sasse, Tom Rice, Larry Hogan, Asa Hutchinson, Lisa Murkowski, Peter Meijer, Chris Christie, Don Young.
Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele tweeted, “As the former chairman of the Republican party, I cannot express enough my condemnation of this pathetic act of cowardice taken by its current leadership to censure Liz Cheney and Rep. Kinzinger. You are wrong. I stand with Liz and Adam.”
On Sunday’s Face the Nation, retired Lt. General H.R. McMaster, who served as national security adviser during the Trump administration, called the event of January 6, 2021, “illegitimate political discourse,” a direct rebuttal to the RNC.
The RNC added an extra kick to the teeth with Friday’s censure by including a move to support Rep. Cheney’s Trump-endorsed opponent in her upcoming reelection. That is practically unheard of in politics short of discovering someone has committed mass murder. As an aside, Ms. Cheney raised over $2 million last quarter for her reelection.
“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.” -Rep. Liz Cheney
We have taken our democracy for granted in America, believing it will always be here. I am guilty of that. I can honestly say it never ever occurred to me that my own political party would basically snub the rule of law and refuse to tell the truth to the masses who make up their base in order to hang onto power.
The history of the GOP, sadly, shows us this faction of the party has been in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to return to relevance. The age of Trump presented that opportunity. Read the history of the party because we are repeating it right now, reborn under other names and movements within the GOP.
I stand with Liz and Adam.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire
Statement from Rep. Adam Kinzinger after Friday’s RNC censure vote:
More from Bearing Drift:
–Liz Cheney, January 6 and Trump’s grip on the RNC (msnbc.com) – by Charlie Sykes
-RNC Resolution: full.pdf (nyt.com)