The Republican National Committee formally censured GOP Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger over their criticism of former President Donald Trump and their roles with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.
The resolution, which says the RNC will no longer support the two as members of the Republican Party, passed in an overwhelming voice vote at the RNC winter meeting in Salt Lake City. It came in a package of five resolutions, including one to “hold Communist China accountable for COVID-19,” that committee members approved together.
Also, Utah Republican Party Chairman Carson Jorgensen showcased Salt Lake City as a potential host for the 2024 Republican National Convention to the RNC’s site selection committee during the three-day meeting. The city is among four finalists for the event.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel worked behind the scenes with David Bossie, a top Trump ally, to author and push a resolution that attacked Cheney’s work on the Jan. 6 committee and called her a “destructive” force in the GOP and vowed the party would no longer support her, according to The Washington Post.
As members of the committee, the resolution says Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a “Democratic-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
Cheney and Kinzinger are the only Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee.
Cheney tweeted a video clip of the Capitol attack, writing, “This was January 6th. This is not ‘legitimate political discourse.’”
This was January 6th.— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) February 4, 2022
This is not “legitimate political discourse.” pic.twitter.com/lKgbVyVcJr
McDaniel didn’t stop to answer reporters’ questions as she left the Grand America Hotel ballroom after the meeting adjourned Friday.
Party leaders clarified that the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” language in the resolution wasn’t meant to apply to Capitol rioters.
In a statement, McDaniel said Cheney and Kinzinger “crossed a line.”
“They chose to join Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol. That’s why Republican National Committee members and myself overwhelmingly support this resolution,” she said.
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who is McDaniel’s uncle, condemned his party over the vote to censure Cheney, R-Wyo., and Kinzinger, R-Ill.
“Shame falls on a party that would you have 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,” Romney said in a tweet.
Romney is scheduled to attend a fundraising event for Cheney in March.
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.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 4, 2022
Jorgensen was among members of the 168-member committee who supported the censure resolution.
“Everybody’s trying to make this about Trump. It’s not about Trump,” he said. “They are making a big deal about something that’s going on nationally. They’re starting to cast a bad light on the Republican National Committee itself. We usually tend not to get involved in politics in other states, but this has gone beyond that.”
The Utah Democratic Party was among those ripping the RNC for the language in the resolution, labeling the GOP as “the party of insurrectionists.”
“Let’s be clear: smearing feces on the walls of the Capitol is not legitimate political discourse. Threatening to kill the vice president and members of Congress is not legitimate political discourse. Seeking to violently overturn a free and fair election is not legitimate political discourse,” the a party statement read.
House Republicans stripped Cheney of her leadership position in the caucus last May. The Wyoming GOP voted last November to no longer recognize her as a Republican for voting to impeach Trump for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot.
Cheney faces a tough reelection fight against a Trump-endorsed candidate. Kinzinger has said he is not running for another term.
The RNC’s meeting also was an opportunity for the Utah GOP to give the site selection committee a tour of Salt Lake City.
“We really gave them a sense of what Salt Lake is. People really enjoyed it,” Jorgensen said.
Hosting the 10-day Republican National Convention will bring more than $200 million to the local economy, he said.
“This is a huge event, second only to the Olympics here in the state,” he said.
National GOP conventions have typically been held in swing states, but Jorgensen said he believes the RNC wants to “showcase what it means to be a Republican.”
“If you look at the state of Utah and the Republican governance, we are lowest in unemployment right now. We have more jobs now than before the pandemic. We have had a good, common sense look at legislation,” he said. “They want to show the rest of the country that Republican policy is what’s going to drive us in the future.”
During her speech to committee members, McDaniel said every aspect of American life is harder because of President Joe Biden’s policies.
“Across America, voters are fed up with Joe Biden’s failing radical agenda,” she said, citing inflation, high gas prices, open borders, crime and school closures among the president’s failures
“Our country is in crisis and we have a president who does not care,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel, a BYU graduate, said Republicans are working to take control of the House and Senate in the 2022 election. The RNC, she said, has already raised $155 million in the current election cycle. Tens of millions of dollars have already gone to voter outreach in minority communities, voter registration, election integrity and the “largest field operation in history.”
The RNC is involved in 30 lawsuits across the country protecting voter ID laws and bipartisan poll watching and fighting ballot harvesting, she said. It is also suing Democrats for allowing noncitizens to vote.
“Republicans are making it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” she said.
Restoring faith in elections also means ensuring GOP candidates compete on a level playing field and that starts by withdrawing from the “biased” Commission on Presidential Debates, McDaniel said.
“To everyone in the media, let me be clear, we are not walking away from debates. We are walking away from the Commission on Presidential Debates because it’s a biased monopoly that does not serve the best interest of the American people,” she said
The commission, she said, chose a former Biden staffer to moderate his debate in 2020 and held debates after 26 states had already started voting.