Mitch McConnell Pushes Back On Cheney, Kinzinger Censures

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has pushed back on the recent censures of Representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney by the Republican National Committee (RNC).

McConnell voiced disagreement with the RNC's action during a press conference on the afternoon of February 8, 2022, when he was asked about the national GOP censuring Kinzinger and Cheney.

A few days prior, on February 4, Newsweek reported the RNC censured both GOP representatives for participating in a "Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse." Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two Republican members of the House committee investigating the events of January 6.

Also, during the February 8 press conference, McConnell described his view on the events that took place on January 6, which are the views that have been expressed by both Kinzinger and Cheney. McConnell stated that the RNC should support all members of the party and not single anyone out.

"With regard to the suggestion that the RNC should be in the business of picking and choosing Republicans who ought to be supported, traditionally the view of the national party committees is that we support all members of our party, regardless of their positions on some issues."

McConnell was also asked whether he still has confidence in RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, to which he replied in the affirmative. He then went on to put space between himself and the actions of the RNC.

"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."

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters following a lunch meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill on February 8, 2022, in Washington, DC. McConnell said the RNC should not be in the business of singling anyone out from the rest of the party. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The senator from Kentucky, on February 8, called the events on January a violent insurrection.

"Well, let me give you my view of what happened on January the 6th. We're all, we're 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. That's what it was."

McConnell's comments on February 8 are not the first time the senator has called the January 6 riots an attempt to stop the transfer of power from one administration to another. Earlier this month, McConnell said the Capitol riots were like nothing ever seen in our country's history.

"What we saw here on January the 6th was an effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another, which had never happened before in our country."

In response to Newsweek, an RNC spokeswoman responded: "The RNC has repeatedly condemned all acts of political violence and lawlessness, including what occurred on Jan. 6. Unfortunately, this committee has gone well beyond the scope of the events of that day, and is why the RNC overwhelmingly passed a resolution censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Republicans in both chambers of Congress and across the country remain united in our efforts to hold Democrats and Biden accountable for their failures to take back the House and Senate come November."

Since Friday's censure of the Kinzinger and Cheney, a number of prominent Republicans have spoken out against the move. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski called it "absolutely wrong," according to NBC News. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweeted it was a "sad day for my party."

The GOP I believe in is the party of freedom and truth. It’s a sad day for my party—and the country—when you’re punished just for expressing your beliefs, standing on principle, and refusing to tell blatant lies.

On February 4, Utah Senator Mitt Romney posted on Twitter that "shame falls on a party that would censure person of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol."

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

Newsweek reached out to Senator McConnell's office and the offices of Representatives Kinzinger and Cheney's for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Correction 2/8/22 6:57 p.m.: Newsweek corrected the spelling of Kinzinger in the headline.