RNC censure of Cheney, Kinzinger 'shameful whitewashing,' Rep. Meijer says

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — West Michigan Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer tweeted Friday that a censure resolution by the Republican National Committee against two House colleagues probing the Jan. 6 insurrection was a "shameful whitewashing."

Republican officials voted earlier Friday to censure Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the two GOP members of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack. For months, the panel has been examining former President Donald Trump's efforts to hold on to power after losing the November 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Officials said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., pictured here, flew in on a charter aircraft and were on the ground at the Kabul airport for several hours.

Cheney and Kinzinger had participated "in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse," the Republican Party resolution said.

On Friday afternoon, Meijer, a first-term representative from Grand Rapids Township, retweeted a New York Times report about the vote. It said, "The Republican Party has officially declared the Jan. 6 attack 'legitimate political discourse.'"

"Violence must be a bright line dividing acceptable/unacceptable," Meijer wrote. "This shameful whitewashing gives comfort to extremists seeking power by force when they are incapable of persuasion.

More: GOP censures Cheney, Kinzinger, moves to pull out of debates

"Violence will be a dark stain on my party unless we actively condemn & reject any who support it."

Five people died amid the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, including two from natural causes and one from amphetamine intoxication, when hundreds of Trump supporters breached the Capitol building in an effort to halt the certification of Biden’s win. 

The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee is Michigan resident Ronna McDaniel, who tweeted Friday that she has "repeatedly condemned violence on both sides of the aisle."

"Unfortunately, this committee has gone well beyond the scope of the events of that day," McDaniel added of the U.S. House panel.

She called the New York Times headline false.

"Cheney and Kinzinger chose to join (U.S. House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol," McDaniel tweeted.

The U.S. House select committee has been probing both the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and efforts to undermine the 2020 election's results.

Last week, the committee issued subpoenas to 14 Republicans, including two from Michigan, who signed and submitted false certificates claiming that Trump won their states' electoral votes. Among those who received subpoenas was Kathy Berden, Michigan's Republican national committeewoman.

Meijer, an Iraq veteran and former Army officer, was one of 10 Republican U.S. House members who voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13, 2021. He has said the vote was needed for accountability and the good of the nation, especially after Trump took no responsibility for inciting the riot. 

"If he hadn't held that rally, if he hadn't lied to those who trusted him about a massive 'stolen' election, and hadn't lied and said that this was the time that they could change the results of that election, then five people wouldn't be dead today," Meijer said in January 2021.

cmauger@detroitnews.com

The Associated Press and Staff Writers Riley Beggin and Melissa Nann Burke contributed.