The House’s Jan. 6 committee is nothing more than a partisan witch-hunt. Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats have commandeered government resources and legislators’ time for what amounts to a paid political advertisement for the elections in 2022 and 2024. The problem is that America is paying for it, not the Democrats.
Another problem: Two anti-Trump Republicans are taking part in this paid political advertisement. Both of them — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — have sworn up and down that this is a serious investigation and not just a kangaroo court. Meanwhile, anyone with two eyes and half a brain can see the marsupials bouncing around the room.
The Republican National Committee has apparently had enough of their rubbish; on Thursday evening, Politico reported the RNC will likely censure both Cheney and Kinzinger after a resolution unanimously cleared a committee vote at the RNC winter meeting in Salt Lake City. The full body will vote on it Friday.
This is a long time coming; here at The Western Journal, we’ve chronicled the myriad ways this is a sham committee and how both Cheney and Kinzinger’s participation should appall conservatives. (We’ll continue to chronicle the witch-hunt as it lurches forward, as well; you can help us by subscribing.)
Harmeet Dhillon, an RNC committeewoman from California, was one of what Politico described as “several dozen sponsors of the resolution.” She said the censure was based solely on their work with the Jan. 6 select committee.
“This is not about them being anti-Trump,” Dhillon said.
“There are plenty of other people in the party who are anti-Trump whose names don’t appear in the resolution. These two took specific action to defy party leadership.”
Party leadership had admonished Republicans not to participate after House Speaker Pelosi rejected several of the Republicans House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had put forth to serve on the committee.
Cheney and Kinzinger were then added to the commission by Pelosi herself. The Republicans were the highest-profile GOP members to vote for former President Donald Trump’s impeachment for incitement over the Capitol riot.
The censure resolution the RNC will vote on Friday is the weaker of two alternatives; others had proposed expelling Cheney and Kinzinger from the House Republican Caucus.
Politico’s David Siders and Natalie Allison, however, said expulsion from the caucus “would have been more complicated” than censure: “Several RNC members said they feared it would create a political headache for both the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, and the RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel. McDaniel said in November that Cheney ‘obviously’ is ‘still a Republican,’” they reported.
This being Politico, however, there was a loud whiff when Siders and Allison missed the point: “Still, for the Republican National Committee to censure two of its own members is significant — a pointed escalation in the GOP’s bid to purge itself of Republicans perceived as disloyal to Trump.”
Really? So they’re voting on censure resolutions against Utah Sen. Mitt Romney? How about Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska or Ben Sasse of Nebraska? Those are four senators who voted to convict Trump during the 2021 impeachment trial. None liked the guy beforehand. None like him now. Is there any censure vote for them?
Or what about the eight other Republicans who voted to impeach him in the House? Is the RNC engaged in a “pointed escalation” to “purge” them?
No. This is based on Cheney and Kinzinger’s decision to accept Pelosi’s appointment to a committee that was little more than a fishing expedition for material to use as a cudgel against Republicans during the next few election cycles.
Most of the committee’s aims, in fact, have nothing to do with the former president. In fact, the resolution that established the committee doesn’t mention the former president once. It makes a lot of statements about “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorism” that apparently fits under its investigative purview, however.
And make no mistake about who these “domestic terrorists” are or what they believe. Here’s a quote from FBI Director Christopher Wray included in the resolution: “[T]he underlying drivers for domestic violent extremism — such as perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach, sociopolitical conditions, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and reactions to legislative actions — remain constant.”
When you see “perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach” and “reactions to legislative actions” lumped in with “racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia [and] misogyny,” it’s not difficult to figure out why the committee picked this quote or what they’re concerned with: This is a branding exercise concerned with painting the Republican Party as dangerous bigots.
While cries of racism and misogyny aren’t novel tactics for the Democratic Party, this is the first time we’ve seen a congressional committee dedicated to advancing that message — and Cheney and Kinzinger are taking part in it. One might say those are the kind of Republicans deserving of a “pointed escalation” by the RNC to “purge” them from the party.
Lo and behold, both Cheney and Kinzinger issued statements you’d expect from them, with Cheney arguing history would vindicate her and Kinzinger accusing the GOP of being awash in conspiracy theorists.
“I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump,” Cheney said in her statement, posted to her website. “History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what.”
Kinzinger, meanwhile, said he is “now even more committed to fighting conspiracies and lies.”
“I’ve been a member of the Republican Party before Donald Trump entered the field,” he said. “My values and core beliefs remain the same and have not wavered. I’m a conservative who believes in truth, freedom, and upholding the Constitution of the United States.”
Republicans, he continued, have “allowed conspiracies and toxic tribalism [to] hinder their ability to see clear-eyed. My efforts will continue to be focused on standing up for the truth and working to fight the political matrix that’s led us to this point.”
There’s nothing more on-brand for these two. Cheney’s claim that she’s the Last True Republican™ fighting a lonely war with her sidekick Kinzinger on the Jan. 6 committee hasn’t been borne out by anything the unserious body has done. Meanwhile, Kinzinger may have “been a member of the Republican Party before Donald Trump entered the field.” He’s also been considered a massive RINO since before Donald Trump entered the field, too.
Consider a 2013 profile of Kinzinger by The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, suitably glowing given the publication (Milbank raved that “Kinzinger is 35 and charismatic — just the sort of anti-[Ted] Cruz the Republicans need if they are again to be a party that does more than sabotage government”), noted the RINO appellation had hung around the then-second-term congressman for some time and he was one of 10 Republicans on the conservative Club for Growth’s “primarymycongressman.com” list of GOPers who should be challenged by more conservative opponents.
Kinzinger won’t be running for re-election on the sound basis that he’d be unlikely to win a primary in 2022. Cheney, meanwhile, is running again and fully 20 points behind her primary challenger. In other words, they likely won’t be around the House Republican Caucus for long, although it would have been nice to see them tossed for participating in the Democrats’ show committee. In the absence of that, censure certainly works.