Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmmmm...

RNC officials say 'legitimate political discourse' referred to fake Trump elector, not Jan. 6 rioters

A relatively small group of Republican officials have strongly criticized last week's Republican National Committee resolution censuring Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), arguing it's bad politics for the national party to criticize Republicans and a distracting blunder to suggest the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was "legitimate political discourse." But the majority of Republicans agree with the censure resolution, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told reporters Tuesday.

"I'm just telling you, in my state, it's not helpful to have a bunch of D.C. Republicans commenting on what the RNC — and frankly, probably most Missouri Republicans — support," Hawley said. "Super unhelpful, and super great way to get themselves inserted into that race, which I don't want." Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who, like Hawley, objected to the certification of President Biden's victory after the Capitol riot was quelled, said Cheney and Kinzinger's participation on the Jan. 6 committee is "not helpful."

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel defended the censure in a Townhall op-ed Tuesday, arguing that "the awful events of that day do not justify Cheney or Kinzinger enabling a partisan committee whose real purpose seems to be helping Democrats' electoral prospects at the cost of potentially ruining innocent people's lives." 

"Several members of the committee assert that when the censure mentioned 'ordinary citizens' and 'legitimate political discourse,' it was referring to people like Kathy Berden, a Republican committee member from Michigan who put herself on a fake slate of electors" for former President Donald Trump, The New York Times reports. McDaniel had cited Berden, a friend of hers, in weekend cleanup calls as an example of why the RNC had not equated Jan. 6 rioters with legitimate political protesters, The Washington Post reports.

RNC members portray Berden "as an innocent victim of an overzealous investigation, noting that she is elderly and a widow," the Times reports. The House Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed her last month "as part of an effort to find out who orchestrated the drive to put forward false electors in several states Mr. Biden won, a potential crime."