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RNC censure Cheney Kinzinger

Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wy., left) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill., right) listen during a December 1, 2021 session of the bipartisan House committee investigating the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images) 

GOP Declares Deadly Capitol Attack 'Legitimate Political Discourse'

"January 6th was not 'legitimate political discourse'—it was a violent insurrection on our Capitol," Rep. Pramila Jayapal retorted. "I didn't know if I'd make it out alive. Some didn't. We cannot let the GOP whitewash what happened."

Brett Wilkins

Progressives expressed outrage Friday after the Republican National Committee formally declared the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election "legitimate political discourse." 

"Mark this day for future reference." 

"January 6th was not "legitimate political discourse"—it was a violent insurrection on our Capitol," Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) tweeted in response to the RNC declaration.

"I didn't know if I'd make it out alive," she added. "Some didn't. We cannot let the GOP whitewash what happened."

The New York Times reports the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted overwhelmingly Friday to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for their participation in the Democrat-led bipartisan commission investigating the January 6 attack.

The RNC censure resolution accuses Cheney and Kinzinger of "participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse," and of "utilizing their past professed affiliation to mask Democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes."

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)—a member of the special House committee investigating the January 6 attack—told the Times that "The Republican Party is so off the deep end now that they are describing an attempted coup and a deadly insurrection as political expression."

"It is a scandal that historians will be aghast at, to think that a major political party would be denouncing Liz Cheney for standing up for the Constitution and not saying anything about Donald Trump's involvement in the insurrection."

Karen Hobert Flynn, president of the progressive advocacy group Common Cause, said in a statement that "January 6 was an insurrection that left people dead and scores of seriously injured in its wake. It was not legitimate political discourse no matter what the GOP says."

"It was a violent attempt to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election and ignore the will of the people," she continued. "It was a dangerous and irresponsible attempt to try to intimidate Congress with an angry racist mob assembled and then set loose by a man who had just lost the presidential election."

"With today's vote, the Republican Party has just endorsed violence as a legitimate form of political expression," Hobert Flynn added. "Their vote to legitimize violence is anti-democratic. There is no room for ambiguity when it comes to an attack on the peaceful transfer of power and our democratic system of government."

Cheney responded to the censure by posting a video showing supporters of Trump's "Big Lie"—the fallacious belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen—savagely assaulting Capitol police officers and violently storming the U.S. Congress in a bid to stop lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. 

Daniel Ziblatt, a professor at Harvard University and author of How Democracies Die, tweeted: "I have spent a lot of my career studying what happens when conservatives fully go off the rails. This is one of those moments." 

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