Jen Psaki Disgraces RNC For Declaring ‘Legit Political Discourse’


In a recently passed censure resolution targeting Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for their participation in the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, Republican Party officials characterized the duo as “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” — leading to shock from observers at the prospect of a major political party declaring January 6 to have constituted “legitimate political discourse.” Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel eventually clarified that the language wasn’t meant to refer to individuals who attacked the Capitol, although the resolution makes no such distinction.

Even if the language in the resolution wasn’t meant to directly excuse violence — although that’s what it basically does anyway — the idea that party officials would gloss over the reality of January 6 to the point of ignoring the violence is itself disturbing enough. The resolution contains no condemnation for the violence that took place, which included hundreds of brutal assaults on police officers, among other instances of destructive scenes unfolding. At a White House press conference this Tuesday, Biden administration press secretary Jen Psaki insisted that the president’s team “rejects” the premise of the censure resolution — as anyone credibly assessing the situation certainly should. As Psaki put it:

‘I think it’s clear to Americans that what happened on January 6 was not ‘legitimate political discourse.’ Storming the Capitol in an attempt to halt the peaceful transition of power is not legitimate political discourse; neither is attacking and injuring over 140 police officers, smashing windows and defiling offices. It’s telling to all of us that some leading Republicans have rejected that characterization, including the former president’s national security adviser, and the chief of staff to the former vice president… We certainly reject the notion that that was legitimate political discourse, as we think a large number of Americans would as well.’

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It’s worth noting: McDaniel’s attempt to tamp down the impact of the resolution doesn’t erase Republican culpability in fostering a culture of violence. On the day of the riot, Trump posted that “these are the things and events that happen” when an election is stolen, essentially trying to excuse what happened. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the riot investigation committee, has questioned the extent to which violence was essentially part of the plan for January 6, and he took Trump’s recent comments that he’d be inclined to pardon Capitol rioters if he wins the presidency again as indicating that the ex-president was, in some sense, onboard with the chaos. As Schiff put it, if “this violence against the Capitol wasn’t part of the plan, or wasn’t something he condoned, then why would he consider pardoning them?” Trump has also been reported to have considered issuing a blanket pardon for the Capitol rioters before he left office.