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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has chosen sides in the ongoing battle over the events of Jan. 6th, 2021, and the side he’s chosen doesn’t appear to be the Republican Party.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, the top Senate Republican was questioned about the Republican National Committee’s recent decision to censure Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the two Republicans who’ve eagerly aided Democrats in their ostensible quest to investigate the Jan. 6th riot.
He was pressed specifically about the censure’s wording. It accuses Cheney and Kinzinger of “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
Democrats and their media allies have seized on this framing to accuse the RNC of sugarcoating the Jan. 6th riot. They say, in effect, that the RNC is acting as if the violent riot was nothing but a “peaceful protest.”
Cheney and others have also seized on this framing …
This was January 6th.
This is not “legitimate political discourse.” pic.twitter.com/lKgbVyVcJr
— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) February 4, 2022
“Legitimate political discourse”?https://t.co/Q6CTATzTma pic.twitter.com/49t8yVvuR9
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 4, 2022
In his remarks Tuesday, McConnell echoed the left’s mindset.
“Let me give you my view of what happened on January 6: We saw what happened. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next. That’s what it was,” he said.
He also seemed to cast aspersions on the RNC, chastising them for “picking and choosing Republicans who ought to be supported.”
“Traditionally, the view of the national party committees is that we support all members of our party regardless of their positions on some issues,” he said.
The remarks earned widespread attention from the left-wing establishment, with virtually every outlet rushing to celebrate McConnell’s “rebuke of how far the party has gone to deny the reality of the violence that unfolded during the bloody assault on the Capitol,” as The New York Times put it.
Conservatives meanwhile speculated that with this move, McConnell is officially “done.”
McConnell is done.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) February 8, 2022
RNC chair Ronna McDaniel pushed back in a statement released Tuesday about how “the media is distorting Republican censure of Cheney, Kinzinger.” She argued that as the head of the RNC, she’s “repeatedly condemned the violence that occurred at the Capitol in January 6th.”
But, she continued, the RNC’s censure of Cheney and Kinzinger wasn’t about the violence of Jan. 6th. It was about the innocent Americans who, despite having had nothing to with the riot, have become ensnared in the investigation being conducted by the Jan. 6th committee that Cheney proudly co-chairs.
“Last month, reports showed that 90 percent of the committee’s subpoenas have been delivered to people who weren’t even at the Capitol on January 6th,” she wrote.
“This includes individuals like one of the RNC’s members who was subpoenaed because, weeks before January 6th, she served as an alternate elector pending the outcome of ongoing lawsuits – an action with clear legal precedent which Democrats themselves have done in the past. Now she could face costly legal bills even though she was nowhere near the Capitol on January 6th and had nothing to do with the violence that occurred.”
According to Romney, when the RNC had condemned Cheney and Kinzinger for trying to stifle “legitimate political discourse,” they’d been referring to acts such as this. And indeed, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said the same.
“Everybody knows, anybody who broke in and caused damage, that was not called for. Those people, I’ve said from the very beginning, should be in jail.. What they were talking about is the 6 RNC members who [the committee] has subpoenaed who weren’t even here, who were in Florida that day,” he told reporters Tuesday.
Asked McCarthy about “legitimate political discourse.” “What they were talking about is the six RNC members who Jan 6th has subpoenaed, who weren’t even here, who were in Florida that day.” He says those who caused damage “should be in jail.” (RNC resolution doesn’t mention that) pic.twitter.com/k4qsLWAOv5
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 8, 2022
It’s not clear why McConnell chose to buck the party and allow Democrats and their media allies to spoon-feed to him what appears to be a completely false narrative about the RNC’s censure statement.
The irony is that it’s done nothing to boost his image among the left. While they’ve eagerly seized on his comments to attack the RNC, they still neither like him nor trust him.
Case in point:
To people who think McConnell is operating in good faith on the Electoral Count Act, note that there are 9 Republicans who he has permitted to work with Democrats.
I wonder why it’s 9 and not, say, 10.🤔
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) February 9, 2022
And what is the point of McConnell’s epiphany? He KNOWS this for sure. Yet he doesn’t want it investigated? And most importantly, he doesn’t want the person responsible for it, to be held accountable? 🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️ https://t.co/oAUn0xrEQF
— Redi Tlhabi (@RediTlhabi) February 9, 2022
Apparently, Mitch McConnell and some other GOP members don’t want to be linked with this anymore. Oh, well. Too late!!!
The January 6 committee has the goods—and they know it.pic.twitter.com/deQYgCJL2D
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) February 8, 2022
Meanwhile, all this comes as Kinzinger is — for some inexplicable reason — talking up the prospect of a civil war among the American people.
“A year ago, I would have said, no, not a chance [of a civil war]. But I have come to realize when we don’t see each other as fellow Americans, when we begin to separate into cultural identities, when we begin to basically give up everything we believe so we can be part of a group, and then when you have leaders that come and abuse that faithfulness of that group to violent ends, as we saw on January 6, we would be naive to think it is not possible here,” he said on CNN this Monday.
“And it is not like the blue and gray north and the south, it is just turns into violence like you see in other countries. We have to look at this wide-eyed and walk in and say we may have differences as left and right, but we have to bridge those differences because our basic survival is at stake, the basic survival of this democracy.”
Perhaps it’d be easier for Republicans and Democrats to to see each other as fellow Americans if the team he’s chosen to side with — the Democrat Party — would stop incessantly lying about everything and everyone.
For starter’s, they could stop pretending that the RNC’s “legitimate political discourse” remark had anything to do with the violence that occurred on Jan. 6th …
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