Skip to content

GOP officially censures Cheney, Kinzinger

RNC members also voted in favor of a rule change that would prohibit their candidates from participating in debates, arguing the Commission that organizes them is partisan.

Associated Press Chicago Journal
Associated Press / Chicago Journal
3 min read
GOP officially censures Cheney, Kinzinger

Embed from Getty Images

By SAM METZ | Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Republican National Committee censured two GOP lawmakers on Friday for participating on the committee investigating the violent Jan. 6 insurrection and assailed the panel for leading a “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

GOP officials took a voice vote to approve censuring Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger at the party's winter meeting in Salt Lake City. The censure was approved a day after an RNC subcommittee watered down a resolution that had recommended expelling the pair from the party.

The censure accuses Cheney and Kinzinger of “participating in a Democrat-led persecution."

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel denied that the “legitimate political discourse” wording in the censure was referring to the violent attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump and said it had to do with other actions taken by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. But the resolution drew no such distinction.

RNC members take issue with what they see as the overly broad subpoenas, including one for Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward. Ward, an osteopathic doctor, sued to block the subpoena and argues providing her phone records would compromise patients’ privacy.

“What are you going for? What are you looking for? You should have a specific scope,” said Pam Pollard, an RNC member from Oklahoma.

McDaniel and her co-chair Tommy Hicks focused their remarks to RNC members on the 2022 midterms and key tenets of their platform — crime rates, parental rights over school curriculum choices and pandemic restrictions on businesses. Though they hardly mentioned the former president by name, Trump's sway among party officials was made evident by the censure and criticisms of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Cheney, of Wyoming, and Kinzinger, of Illinois, are the only two Republicans on the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. Trump and other GOP members were incensed when Kinzinger and Cheney agreed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation to join the Democratic-led House committee, giving the Jan. 6 panel a veneer of bipartisan credibility.

The most consequential element of the censure is a call for the party to no longer support Cheney and Kinzinger as Republicans.

The censure — combined with support from RNC members from Wyoming — allows the party to invoke a rule to back candidates other than Cheney. It sets in motion a way for the party to support Cheney's primary opponent, Harriet Hageman, who has been endorsed by Trump. Wyoming's primary is in August.

Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler said in a statement that the move subverted the will of Wyoming voters.

“Frank Eathorne and the Republican National Committee are trying to assert their will and take away the voice of the people of Wyoming before a single vote has even been cast," he said, referring to the Wyoming GOP chair who co-sponsored the resolution.

Kinzinger is not running for reelection.

RNC members also voted in favor of a rule change that would prohibit their candidates from participating in debates organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The institution has been a staple of presidential elections for three decades, but Republicans have decried the format as biased. After advancing on Friday, the rules change is expected to be completed when the RNC meets in summer.

Republicans object to past moderators they perceive as left-leaning and remarks about Trump made by commission co-chair Mike McCurry.

“Restoring faith in our elections means making sure our candidate can compete on a level playing field,” McDaniel said in a speech on Friday.

“We are not walking away from debates, we are walking away from the Commission on Presidential Debates because it’s a biased monopoly that does not serve the best interests of the American people," she added.

Even with a rules change, decisions about whether to participate in commission-sponsored debates will fall to the GOP’s eventual 2024 nominee.

Subscribe to the Chicago Journal

The Chicago Journal needs your support.

At just $20/year, your subscription not only helps us grow, it helps maintain our commitment to independent publishing and remain free from influence.


U.S. PoliticsNewsIllinois PoliticsIllinois NewsPolitics

Associated Press Twitter

News and content from The Associated Press, which has been covering the world's most important stories since 1846.

Chicago Journal Twitter

The Chicago Journal is a general interest, digital publication focused on the political, cultural, and economic issues relevant to the city of Chicago and the surrounding metro area.


Supreme Court upholds cash-free bail in Illinois, takes effect in September

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis ordered that the halt on the law be lifted 60 days after Tuesday's opinion, on Sept. 18, 2023.

Supreme Court upholds cash-free bail in Illinois, takes effect in September

Mississippi River crests at Davenport, testing barriers

The peak was slightly lower than forecast but still high enough to test the region's flood defenses and to keep officials on guard. Many larger cities have flood walls but Davenport relies on temporary sand-filled barriers and allows the river to flood in riverfront parks.

Mississippi River crests at Davenport, testing barriers

`Multiple fatalities' on Illinois highway following crashes

The crashes occurred late in the morning and involved 40 to 60 passenger cars and multiple tractor-trailers, two of which caught fire, Illinois State Police Maj. Ryan Starrick said.

`Multiple fatalities' on Illinois highway following crashes