RNC clarifies censure vote, ‘legitimate public discourse’ language

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


At its annual meeting, the Republican National Committee resolved to officially admonish a pair of sitting congresspeople in connection to their actions on the House Jan. 6 Select Committee, but nothing about this process was as cut-and-dry as proponents, critics, or even the censured parties have let on.

As reported by FISM, the inarguable points in the episode were that the RNC voted to censure Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and that the result of the censure was that the party no longer supports either congressperson as a member. After this, things grew murky.

For starters, the censure document was never read before the full body of members, and, as was reported by The Week, the censure process took about one minute to complete.

The initial presumption was that Cheney and Kinzinger were censured for their overall participation, but the RNC later clarified that the censure had arisen because the pair went along with what the RNC classified as an attack on “legitimate political discourse.”

This clarification was not enough to stem the confusion. Mainstream media outlets, among them Reuters, CNN, and the New York Times, reported that the RNC was referring to the entire probe as an attack on discourse, which by extension framed the RNC as viewing the Capitol riot as legitimate.

Cheney responded as though she shared the belief of the wider media. She penned a tweet that contained video of the riot and wrote, “This was January 6th. This is not ‘legitimate political discourse.’”

Kinzinger retweeted Cheney’s post and a tweet from moderate Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

“Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol,” Romney wrote. “Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost.”

However, the RNC responded to the growing criticism with a cry of “fake news.”

GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDowell, citing specifically the Times report, said the RNC’s motives were being misrepresented.

“This story from the New York Times is completely false,” McDowell tweeted. “It’s not journalism. It’s the worst type of baseless political propaganda.”

In subsequent tweets, McDowell said the vote to censure was in response to Cheney and Kinzinger being complicit in harassing people who had taken no part in the violence that occurred on Jan. 6.

“Cheney and Kinzinger chose to join 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,” McDowell tweeted. “The NYT needs to correct this story now or again expose themselves as political hacks.”

McDowell added, “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.”

According to the language found in the motion that created it, the select committee’s purpose is to investigate the Capitol riot, and the committee has immense latitude to bring in witnesses.

As of one week ago, according to information collected by CNN, the select committee had subpoenaed or requested voluntary interviews with 77 individuals or entities and has subpoenaed phone records from two members of former President Donald Trump’s family.

Among the 77 individuals and entities, only seven were directly involved in the storming of the Capitol.

Five individuals – House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Scott Perry (R-Calif.), Fox News host Sean Hannity, and Ivanka Trump – have been asked to voluntarily submit to committee interviews.

The 65 others all received subpoenas. The group consists of former President Trump and numerous members of his team, 21 individuals who organized rallies or events in the lead up to Jan. 6, people who espoused election fraud claims, and individuals who led efforts to send alternative electors to Washington for the official Electoral College count.

The degree to which these individuals were involved in or contributed to the Jan. 6 riot has been the subject of intense debate both online and in political circles.

Republicans have largely criticized the committee as a waste of time and a kangaroo court whose aim is to facilitate Democrats’ third attempt to prosecute former President Trump.

One day before her censure, Cheney indicated on her personal twitter account that Trump was her primary target.

“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 tweeted. “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.”

Trump is unquestionably the biggest fish for Republicans and Democrats; however, it would be inaccurate to describe Friday’s censure as simply a case of Republicans rallying to protect the former President.

The select committee, which was created in July 2021, spent the first several months of its existence focusing almost exclusively on Trump and his subordinates. However, in late December, the committee began broadening its subpoena list to include ever more tangentially related individuals.

While the committee has the freedom to take such actions, in so doing it might have also provided the RNC a way to attack the process and punish the two Republicans who’ve agreed to participate.