With no discussion, at least not publicly, the Republican Party officially declared the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the events leading up to it, as “legitimate political discourse.” They also rebuked Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
Party leaders, meeting in Salt Lake City, approved a resolution condemning Cheney and Kinzinger for taking part in the House investigation into the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. The resolution described the probe as “a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
The original resolution was much more forceful, calling for the expulsion of Cheney and Kinzinger for their participation in the investigation. The changes were negotiated by members behind closed doors over several days during the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Utah. The vote to approve the measure was combined with four other proposals. There was no debate during the public meeting, and it passed on a voice vote with only a few members voting “no.”
The House Select Committee is examining the events leading up to Jan. 6, including the role former President Donald Trump, his allies and members of Congress may have played in the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
During an October visit to Salt Lake City, Kinzinger spoke with The Tribune about the House investigation.
“I’m not surprised by what I’m learning. It’s pretty impactful, and I think there’s more to come over the next number of months. The real question is, will people see the truth and believe it?” Kinzinger said.
Shortly thereafter, Utah GOP Chairman Carson Jorgensen said he agreed with the censure of the two Republican members of Congress.
“We have to work together as Republicans and as a Republican Party. We can have differences, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get along, and that doesn’t mean we attack and persecute our own,” Jorgensen said.
The Tribune asked Jorgensen to clarify whether he supported the language declaring Jan. 6 as “legitimate political discourse,” but he has not responded.
GOP Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel lashed out at media reports about the resolution on Twitter, saying the language was being distorted.
“I have repeatedly condemned violence on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, this committee has gone well beyond the scope of the events of that day,” McDaniel said.
The resolution was approved just days after former President Donald Trump suggested he would consider pardoning his supporters who have been convicted for their role in the attack on the Capitol.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Becky Edwards condemned the resolution’s language.
“The violence we witnessed on January 6 went beyond discourse and resulted in the deaths of officers and civilians. The dismissal of these acts as anything less than harmful ignores the impact that day will have on our democracy for generations to come,” Edwards said in a statement.