Over the last year, most Republican officeholders have scattered like deer being chased by a semi-truck whenever reporters have asked them to condemn the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters. Now, however, the Republican National Committee, rather than cowering, has exhibited real boldness. Unfortunately, it is the wrong kind of bold.
Rather than condemn the Jan. 6 rioters and the man who unleashed them, the former president, the RNC has voted to censure the two Republican House members, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who are members of the select committee investigating the insurrection and the people behind it. The top GOP officials went on to condemn the Jan. 6 committee for “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and few other Republicans spoke up to defend Cheney and Kinzinger, and to take exception to the RNC’s coddling of the rioters. Perhaps the bravest of them all was the member of Congress from Washington’s 3rd District, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler – brave because she is already in trouble with her party for voting to impeach Trump and now faces challenges in this year’s GOP primary from two or more Trump loyalists. Nevertheless, she did not cower.
“Jan. 6 left the realm of legitimate political discourse when it became a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement released by her office. “I didn’t support the creation of the Jan. 6 committee because I believed the committee’s makeup was too partisan, but I also don’t support the censure of a Member of Congress for attempting to uncover the truth.”
Added to the RNC’s recent decision to pay for Trump’s legal bills, the censures are yet more evidence that the Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan has been almost completely transformed into a conspiracy-minded cult in thrall to the sore loser in Mar-a-Lago who, by his own admission, tried to overturn a free and fair election. The lonely few, such as Cheney, Romney and Herrera Beutler who resist the cult are accused of being RINOs – Republicans In Name Only – while the truth is that they are the only true Republicans left.
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