Both Republicans and Democrats expressed horror on January 6 of last year, when a mob of pro-Trump extremists fueled by the former President's election lies stormed the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection.
But in the year since that calamitous day, Republican lawmakers and media personalities have leapt to downplay the severity of the Capitol attack while also absolving Trump for his role in inciting it. Far-right Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin falsely insisted the riot was nonviolent. GOP Congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia absurdly likened the insurrection to a "normal tourist visit."
Just last month, a day before the insurrection's year anniversary, Republican Senator Ted Cruz called the insurrection a "terrorist attack." This enraged conservatives, including far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson. On the anniversary of the attack, Cruz appeared on Carlson's show to walk back his "frankly dumb" characterization—a display that both sides of the aisle found pathetic.
There are, however, two Republicans in Congress currently pursuing information and accountability for the events of January 6—Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the only two Republicans on the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.
Unlike Cruz, Cheney and Kinzinger have maintained their positions that the Capitol riot was an unprecedented attack and that former President Donald Trump was crucial to inciting it. Though the representatives have voted in line with Trump's policies an average of 90 percent of the time, this sole point of opposition has been enough to see them cast out of the Republican party.
Both Cheney and Kinzinger have been formally censured by their state's Republican parties, and on Friday the Republican National Committee (RNC) overwhelmingly passed a resolution to do the same.
The resolution describes the Capitol attack—wherein Trump supporters shattered windows, beat police officers, ransacked offices, smeared excrement across the walls, and threatened lawmakers in order to prevent the peaceful transfer of power—as "legitimate political discourse."
Anti-Trump Republican columnist Amanda Carpenter was enraged at the term.
The item read:
"WHEREAS, Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse, and they are both utilizing their past professed political affiliation to mask Democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes..."
Social media users agreed with Carpenter's stance that insurrections aren't "legitimate political discourse."
And Carpenter wasn't the only one to express opposition to the censure effort—Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, uncle of RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, joined others in voicing against it.
It was the first time the national party formally voted to censure any of its legislative members.