House

Pelosi denounces RNC calling Capitol riot ‘legitimate political discourse’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday denounced the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) use of the phrase “legitimate political discourse” to describe what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in its resolution to censure Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

“You’ve heard me say again and again that the Republicans seem to be having a limbo contest with themselves to see how low they can go. They seem to have reached rock bottom with their statement that what happened on Jan. 6 was normal political discourse. Legitimate, legitimate political discourse,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference.

Pelosi said Republicans had abandoned their values and that the party had been “hijacked” and turned into a “cult.”

“I say this to Republicans all the time: Take back your party from this cult. Take back your party. America needs a strong Republican Party and a strong Democratic Party, but it has been hijacked,” she said.

She also later rebuked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for evading a question about the RNC’s censure language. 

Pelosi’s comments Wednesday appear to be the first time she’s publicly addressed last week’s RNC censure of Kinzinger and Cheney for sitting on a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and for their criticism of former President Trump. 

Pelosi had appointed the two to the panel.

Language from the resolution to censure Kinzinger and Cheney said that they had engaged in the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” as members of the House select committee.

Both lawmakers also voted to impeach Trump last year following the insurrection. 

While Kinzinger and Cheney have come under fire from a number of their colleagues, some Republicans criticized the censure, including several senators who also voted to convict Trump, members affiliated with the RNC and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).

“This 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,” McConnell said on Tuesday

McConnell also attacked the language used by the RNC, which appeared to diminish the seriousness of the attack.

“It was a violent insurrection with the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election. … That’s what it was,” McConnell said. 

Trump pushed back against McConnell on Wednesday, saying in a statement through his Save America PAC that the Senate GOP leader “does not speak for the Republican Party.”

“Mitch McConnell does not speak for the Republican Party, and does not represent the views of the vast majority of its voters. He did nothing to fight for his constituents and stop the most fraudulent election in American history,” Trump said.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Adam Kinzinger Censure Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Liz Cheney Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi RNC

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