Mitch McConnell rebukes the RNC for ‘singling out’ and censuring Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney

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  • Sen. Mitch McConnell rebuked the RNC for censuring Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. 
  • The Senate leader said it’s “not the job of RNC” to be “singling out” specific members. 
  • “Traditionally, the view of the national party committees is that we support all members of our party,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked the Republican National Committee for censuring GOP Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, saying it’s “not the job of RNC” to be “singling out” specific Republicans. 

The RNC at its winter meeting on Friday voted to approve a resolution to censure Cheney and Kinzinger for serving on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. They are the only members of the GOP on the panel. 

McConnell said he still has confidence in RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who coauthored the censure resolution, but told reporters he disagreed with the move. 

“The issue is whether or not the RNC should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views than the majority,” McConnell said at a Tuesday news conference. “That’s not the job of the RNC.” 

He added, “Traditionally, the view of the national party committees is that we support all members of our party regardless of their positions on some issues.” 

The GOP also faced backlash for accusing Cheney and Kinzinger of persecuting “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” by serving on a panel investigating a violent attack on the US Capitol.

“We were all here. We saw what happened. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next,” McConnell  said of January 6.

Other Republican senators, including Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Mitt Romney, McDaniel’s uncle, have similarly denounced the RNC’s action, arguing it distracts from the Republican Party’s message. 

“The Republican Party started this year with a decisive advantage on the issues that will be most determinative of the outcome of the fall elections,” Collins told reporters on Monday. “But every moment that is spent relitigating a lost election or defending those who have been convicted of criminal behavior moves us farther away from the goal of victory this fall.” 

Romney said he “exchanged texts” with his niece about the matter. 

“Anything that my party does that comes across as being stupid is not going to help us,” he told reporters on Monday.

McConnell’s counterpart in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, did not similarly denounce the RNC’s action when pressed to respond by CNN’s Manu Raju on Tuesday. 

“Everybody knows, anybody who broke in and caused damage, that was not called for,” McCarthy said. “Those people, I’ve said from the very beginning, should be in jail.”

McCarthy argued that McDaniel’s reference to the persecution of “legitimate political discourse” was referring to its subpoena of RNC members “who weren’t even here, who were in Florida that day.”  

He was apparently referring to RNC members subpoenaed by the January 6 committee in connection with fake slates of Electoral College votes for Trump. 

Another top House Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, also declined to condemn the RNC’s censure of Kinzinger and Cheney, who she replaced as House GOP Conference Chair in 2021. 

“My reaction is that the RNC has every right to take any action, and the position I have is that you’re ultimately held accountable by voters in your district,” she said on Tuesday.