House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday wouldn’t give a straight answer when pressed on the Republican National Committee’s characterization of the deadly Capitol insurrection as “legitimate political discourse” when it voted to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) last week.
When pressed by CNN on the incendiary phrasing of the resolution, McCarthy insisted that he doesn’t condone the violence that broke out on Jan. 6.
“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 then argued that the language in the resolution is about unnamed members of the RNC who were subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 Committee — which is a stretch, the resolution doesn’t mention that.
“What they were talking about is the six RNC members who Jan 6th has subpoenaed, who weren’t even here, who were in Florida that day,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy scurried away when asked about whether he supports the RNC’s resolution to censure Kinzinger and Cheney, both members of his caucus and the only Republicans who serve on the committee investigating the events of Jan. 6.
Although McCarthy didn’t specify which six RNC members he referred to, CNN later reported a McCarthy aide claimed he got the number from RNC chair Ronna McDaniel. Last month, the committee issued subpoenas to fourteen people who sought to act as supposed alternate electors for Trump in 2020, some of whom are RNC members.
McCarthy’s comments come shortly after Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the third-ranking Republican, defended the RNC’s censure resolution during a press conference earlier Tuesday.
Stefanik said that the RNC “has every right to take any action” and that the GOP condemns the violence of Jan. 6 as well as protests against police brutality in 2020. Equating the Jan. 6 insurrection with protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020 is a common talking point among the GOP.
As backlash against the RNC’s characterization of the Capitol insurrection mounted over the weekend, McDaniel accused the media of pushing “baseless political propaganda.” McDaniel also insisted that “legitimate political discourse” “does not include violence” while she continued to attack the media.