Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) criticized the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) apparent characterization of the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as “legitimate political discourse” in a resolution to formally censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
The RNC on Friday voted to censure both lawmakers, with the resolution saying that they have been engaged in the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” by participating in the House select panel investigating the insurrection at the Capitol. The two were also censured for their past criticism of former President Trump.
“What happened on January 6, 2021, was an effort to overturn a lawful election resulting in violence and destruction at the Capitol. We must not legitimize those actions which resulted in loss of life and we must learn from that horrible event so history does not repeat itself,” Murkowski, one of seven senators who voted to convict Trump following the Jan. 6 attack, said on Twitter on Saturday.
“As Americans we must acknowledge those tragic events, and we cannot allow a false narrative to be created. We cannot deny the truth—to suggest it was ‘legitimate political discourse’ is just wrong,” she added.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel on Friday tweeted a photo of a story by The New York Times regarding the RNC’s censure, the headline of which read “G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack ‘Legitimate Political Discourse.’ ”
A subhead underneath it could be shown reading, “The Republican National Committee voted to censure Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for participating in the inquiry into the deadly riot at the Capitol.”
McDaniel suggested the newspaper’s story was false and called it “baseless political propaganda.”
“Cheney and Kinzinger chose to join Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol,” the RNC chair tweeted, doubling down on the committee’s language.
But not all Republicans saw the censure that way, including a handful of moderate Republicans and those previously affiliated with the RNC who either questioned the move or outright criticized it.
“Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol. Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost,” tweeted Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who also voted to convict Trump last year and who is McDaniel’s uncle.
The remarks from Murkowski come as she faces a Senate reelection bid against Trump-backed challenger Kelly Tshibaka, previously Alaska’s commissioner of administration.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chair of the Senate GOP campaign arm, however, said back in November that he would support Murkowski’s reelection efforts despite the challenge from Tshibaka.