Mitt Romney Sternly Denounces GOP Over Insurrection Lies

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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) — who, as the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, isn’t exactly in a position to be easily swept aside — is continuing his opposition to actions by Republicans to align themselves more closely to former President Donald Trump amid the ex-commander-in-chief’s attempts to essentially excuse what happened at the Capitol last January. Trump has even insisted, repeatedly, that he’d be inclined to issue pardons for Capitol rioters if he wins the presidency again — and recently, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted to censure Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for participating in the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, offering yet another point of deference to the former president’s point of view.

In the censure resolution, Republican Party officials characterized Kinzinger and Cheney as “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” — which led many observers to express shock at the prospect of a major political party describing anything associated with January 6 as “legitimate political discourse.” Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel insisted that the language was not meant to apply to individuals who attacked the Capitol, but even the idea of the party glossing over the reality of January 6 to the point of simply ignoring the truth of the violence is disturbing enough. The censure resolution offered no condemnation for the violence. Romney commented as follows, referring to the censure debacle:

‘It could not have been a more inappropriate message. One, to sanction two people of character as they did, but number two, to suggest that a violent attack on the seat of democracy is legitimate political discourse is so far from accurate as to shock and make people wonder what we’re thinking… Anything that my party does that comes across as being stupid is not going to help us.’

Other Republican Senators have also expressed opposition to the censure resolution and the “legitimate political discourse” language. As Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) put it, the “RNC is censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger because they are trying to find out what happened on January 6th – HUH?” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — who, along with Cassidy and Romney, was among the seven GOP Senators to vote in favor of convicting Trump on an impeachment charge of incitement of insurrection after the riot — said, referencing January 6, that “[we] must not legitimize those actions which resulted in loss of life and we must learn from that horrible event so history does not repeat itself,” continuing that as “Americans we must acknowledge those tragic events, and we cannot allow a false narrative to be created.” She added that ‘[we] cannot deny the truth—to suggest it was “legitimate political discourse” is just wrong.’