Republican National Committee members voted on Friday to formally censure U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for their work on the House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
According to media reports, the RNC members “overwhelmingly” voted to censure the two representatives during their meeting in Utah.
Kinzinger R-Illinois, has announced that he will not run for office after his term ends, and Cheney has not formally announced her campaign for re-election for Wyoming’s lone House of Representatives seat.
The resolution adopted by the national committee accused the representatives, through their work on the committee, of participating in a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said that wording in the censure was not referring to the riots at the Capitol but rather the actions taken by the House committee investigating the attacks.
Initially, the resolution proposed removing Cheney and Kinzinger from the House Republican Conference, but ultimately this was changed Thursday to a formal censure.
The resolution was altered due to concerns that the criticism of Cheney and Kinzinger for serving on the committee had gone “too far.”
The Washington Post also reported that in addition to the censure, the RNC made plans to fund a primary challenge against Cheney in Wyoming. State Republican leaders passed a special rule to recognize Harriet Hageman as the party’s presumptive congressional nominee.
Not all congressional Republicans supported the censure, though.
“Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol,” U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney said. “Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost.”
Cheney was ousted from her post as House Republican Conference chair last May following her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump for the role he allegedly played in inciting the riot. She has also faced much criticism from Republicans due to her refusal to fall in line with the rest of her party.
Cheney voted with Trump more than 90% of the time before her impeachment vote.
“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,” Cheney said Thursday ahead of the resolution vote.
“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.”
A number of conservative officials sent a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, last month, asking him to remove Cheney and Kinzinger from the House Republican Conference.
“As part of Pelosi’s team, Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger have deliberately sought to undermine the privacy and due process of their fellow Republicans, and those of private citizens, with improperly issued subpoenas and other investigatory tactics designed not to pursue any valid legislative end, but merely to exploit for the sake of political harassment and demagoguery,” the letter said.
The letter said that as elected representatives, the two should be free to serve in the House, but no longer with the privileges granted to members of the conference.
The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, still recognizes U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney as a member of the Republican Party, despite the fact the Wyoming Republican Party has voted not to do so.
Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler pointed to the comments she made Thursday as her remarks for the official censure on Friday when asked for a comment on Friday.