Georgia Republicans say colleagues on Jan. 6 panel deserved RNC censure

WASHINGTON — Republican members in Georgia’s congressional delegation took no issue with the Republican National Committee’s censure of two GOP members serving on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. But they also were unwilling to align themselves with the controversial language used, which described the insurrection as “legitimate political discourse.”

U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois brought the RNC’s rebuke upon themselves by participating on the Jan. 6 committee, lawmakers said.

“If you’re going to be part of the party, you need to be part of the team,” U.S. Rep. Rick Allen of Augusta said. “And they’re breaking all the team rules. So, what do you do? You have to deal with it, right? And I think that’s what the RNC did.”

U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens, had a similar take, saying Cheney and Kinzinger are out of step with the party.

“The R.N.C. has every right to take action against individuals that do not support Republicans’ shared goals of taking back the majority in Congress and fighting President Biden’s Big Government Socialist agenda on behalf of the American people,” he said in a statement.

The resolution has divided Republicans, with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and former President Donald Trump siding with the RNC’s decision to call out the two GOP members on the Jan. 6 committee. Senate Republicans, including Leader Mitch McConnell, have been far more critical.

“The issue is whether or not the RNC should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority,” he said Tuesday. “That’s not the job of the RNC.”

Georgia U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson, Barry Loudermilk and Austin Scott did not respond to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s questions about whether they approved of the censure or the language used.

McConnell during the news conference also described Jan. 6 as 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.”

Most Republicans believe the Jan. 6 committee is illegitimate and being used to attack Trump because it was not authorized in a bipartisan fashion. That was because McConnell blocked a previous agreement for a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission.

Lawmakers were less willing to say they agreed with the content of the resolution, which said the committee’s work amounted to “persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

Allen said he didn’t have a comment on the verbiage used. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who has Trump’s endorsement in Georgia’s secretary of state race, said Kinzinger and Cheney should have expected the party to take action, but he didn’t know enough about how the resolution was drafted.

“I don’t know if persecution is the right word,” he said. “I didn’t see the quote; I would like to know more before commenting.”

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, said talking about whether she agreed with the RNC resolution was a distraction from other priorities, such as expelling Cheney from the House GOP conference and ensuring her defeat this year.

She said the Jan. 6 riot and the House investigation into it are also distractions voters don’t want.

“I think there are so many things the American people care about so much more than this drama,” she said.