The Republican National Committee last Friday formally approved a resolution that described the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as “legitimate political discourse.” The party’s attempt to rewrite history about what happened on Jan. 6 could have been even more extreme, according to early drafts of the resolution.
The New York Times reported Tuesday night that a draft of the resolution condemned Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who serve on the Jan. 6 committee, for taking part in a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in nonviolent and legal political discourse.”
Nonviolent? The attack resulted in five deaths, dozens of injuries to Capitol Police officers, and scores of footage documenting how very, very violent the siege on the Capitol was. Cheney shared some of it last week:
This was January 6th.
This is not “legitimate political discourse.” pic.twitter.com/lKgbVyVcJr
— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) February 4, 2022
Legal? It goes without saying that assaulting law enforcement officers is not legal, nor is forcibly breaking into and vandalizing a government building. As of the end of January 2022, nearly 800 people had been charged for their role in the attack.
The Washington Post reported that the original draft said that by serving on the Jan. 6 committee Cheney and Kinzinger were disregarding “minority rights” and “due process” while seeming “intent on advancing a political agenda to buoy the Democrat Party’s bleak electoral prospects.”
The Post notes that it’s unclear how “legitimate political discourse” wound up in the resolution, which was reportedly penned by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and longtime Trump ally David Bossie. RNC members were reportedly frustrated that they were unable to see the text of the resolution until hours before it was voted on last week.
McDaniel has since tried to recast the distinction. “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line,” she said in a statement, according to the Times. “They chose to join Nancy 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.”
The RNC may have described the committee’s work as part of the Democratic agenda in the original draft of the resolution, but someone made a decision to take it out it out later. The final version that was approved last Friday said plainly that the Jan. 6 committee is working to persecute “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
Several Senate Republicans have taken issue with the RNC’s language, as well as the move to censure Cheney and Kinzinger. The most powerful among them, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, sounded off on Tuesday. “We saw it happen,” he told reporters. “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. That’s what it was.”
McConnell, along with most of the other Republicans who have decried the resolution, opposed the formation of the Jan. 6 committee to investigate said “violent insurrection.”