Klobuchar on 2 GOP lawmakers censured: ‘To me, they’ve been patriots’

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
Greg Nash

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) called the two Republican lawmakers who last week were censured by the Republican National Committee (RNC) “patriots” and criticized the committee’s move to rebuke them.

“I think this censure of these two Republicans who are simply doing their jobs, they’re investigating what happened that day so it never happens again, I think it is wrong. And I’m glad that some Republicans are standing up against it,” she said during a Friday appearance on “The View.”

“Certainly all Democrats are against it,” she continued. “You’ve got to be able to look at what happened historically to be able to move forward as a democracy and get the facts out, and that’s what they’re doing. To me, they’ve been patriots.”

Last week, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) were censured by the RNC for their involvement in the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol and for their criticism of former President Trump. 

The Minnesota Democrat’s use of the word “patriots” offers a contrast with the way the term has been applied in relation to the attack by some rioters and Republican lawmakers.

Some of those who participated in the attack referred to themselves as “patriots” as they ransacked the Capitol and attempted to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results, believing baseless allegations from former President Trump and others that the election had been rigged.

Last May, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) also referred to those who participated in the attacks as “peaceful patriots.”

At least one federal judge has criticized the use of the word “patriots” to describe rioters, telling a man who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in connection with the attack, “You called yourself and everyone else patriots, but that’s not patriotism.”

“Patriotism is loyalty to country, loyalty to the Constitution, not loyalty to a head of state. That is the tyranny we rejected on July 4,” the judge, Amy Berman Jackson, told defendant Karl Dresch last August. 

The RNC’s censure has also created some fissures within the Republican Party over how the resolution framed the insurrection at the Capitol, which it seemed to describe as “legitimate political discourse.” That apparent characterization drew pushback from several GOP lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). 

“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,” the Kentucky Republican said earlier this week.

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has several times attempted to clarify the censure, including in an appearance on Fox News earlier this week during which she said that violence is not included in “legitimate political discourse.”

“Legitimate political discourse never includes violence,” McDaniel said on Fox News.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Adam Kinzinger Amy Klobuchar Amy Klobuchar Censure Donald Trump Jan. 6 attack Jan. 6 investigation Liz Cheney Liz Cheney Mitch McConnell Patriot Paul Gosar Republican National Committee RNC Ronna McDaniel

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