McConnell Refutes RNC’s Characterization of the Capitol Riots: ‘It Was a Violent Insurrection’

McConnell Refutes RNC’s Characterization of the Capitol Riots: ‘It Was a Violent Insurrection’


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) arrives at the U.S. Capitol after a Senate Republican caucus luncheon in Washington, D.C., January 12, 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) on Tuesday rebuked the Republican National Committee’s censure of Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) and refuted the committee’s framing of the January 6 Capitol riot.

The RNC’s censure resolution called on the committee to “immediately cease any and all support” of the two Republicans and claimed they had “been destructive to the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican Party and our republic, and is inconsistent with the position of the conference.”

The resolution accused the pair of “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse,” referring to the January 6 riot.

McConnell refuted this characterization on Tuesday: “It was a violent insurrection with the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election. … That’s what it was.”

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement that Kinzinger and Cheney were involved in persecuting citizens “engaged in legitimate political discourse” but “that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol.” However, that clarification was not included in the resolution.

Asked whether he has confidence in McDaniel as RNC chairwoman, McConnell said: “I do. But the issue is whether or not the RNC should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority. That’s not the job of the RNC.”

Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) on Tuesday similarly criticized the RNC.

“The purpose of a political party, whether it’s Republican or Democrat, is to bring in as many members as you can,” he said. “I like to think of the Republican Party as being a big-tent party, everybody is welcome, and I like to think of us as candidates but also our party concentrating on what we can do for 2022, taking over control of the Congress.”

Meanwhile, Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) said Monday that while Republicans started the year with a “decided advantage” on important issues that will impact the midterms, that “every moment that is spent relitigating a lost election or defending those who have been convicted of criminal behavior moves us further away from the goal of victory this fall.”

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