Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday pushed back on the Republican National Committee’s characterization of the deadly Capitol insurrection as “legitimate political discourse” in its vote to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) last week.
“It was a violent insurrection with the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next,” McConnell said during a news conference on Tuesday.
McConnell told reporters that traditionally the view of the national party committee is to support all members, “regardless of their positions on some issues.”
After saying that he has confidence in RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, McConnell argued that the issue is whether the RNC “should be singling out members” who “have different views from the majority.”
“That’s not the job of the RNC,” McConnell said.
McConnell’s criticism of the RNC’s incendiary characterization of the Capitol insurrection comes almost a week after the committee voted to censure Cheney and Kinzinger for being the only Republicans serving on the Jan. 6 Select Committee.
In its censure resolution, the RNC likened the committee’s work to the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
McConnell’s comments notably contrast with some other GOP members positions’ on the censure resolution.
Earlier Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wouldn’t comment on the RNC’s characterization of the insurrection. McCarthy instead cast the language in the resolution as a move addressing unnamed members of the RNC who were subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 Committee — despite the resolution not mentioning 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, without specifying which RNC members he referred to.
McCarthy didn’t indicate whether he supports the censure resolution either.
McCarthy’s comments followed the defense of the resolution by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the third-ranking Republican, during a press conference on Tuesday morning.
Stefanik said that the RNC “has every right to take any action” and that the GOP condemns the violence of Jan. 6, which she claimed were similar to the protests against police brutality in 2020. Stefanik’s remarks rehashed the GOP talking point of equating the deadly Capitol insurrection with protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020.
Over the weekend, McDaniel struck a confusing position, arguing that “legitimate political discourse” “does not include violence” as she repeatedly accused the media of pushing “baseless political propaganda.”
Watch McConnell’s remarks below: