IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

RNC panel advances censure resolution for Cheney, Kinzinger

The measure, which calls for the Republican Party to “immediately cease any and all support” of the two lawmakers, will go before all 168 RNC members Friday.
Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., center, and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., center right, address the media after a hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee on July 27.
Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., center, and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., center right, address the media after a hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee on July 27. Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via AP file

SALT LAKE CITY — A Republican National Committee panel unanimously advanced a resolution Thursday to censure Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

The measure will go before all 168 RNC members at Friday's general session, where officials will decide whether to endorse it.

"The Republican National Committee hereby formally censures Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and shall immediately cease any and all support of them as members of the Republican Party for their behavior, which has been destructive to the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican Party and our republic, and is inconsistent with the position of the conference," read the resolution, which was obtained by NBC News.

The measure was submitted by David Bossie, a national committeeman from Maryland who is a close ally of former President Donald Trump, ahead of the party's winter meetings this week. His initial proposal called on the RNC to endorse efforts by congressional Republicans to expel Cheney and Kinzinger, both of whom voted to impeach Trump last year, from the House GOP conference. It was watered down to a censure Thursday amid criticism from some members that the original version would undercut efforts to show that the party tolerated dissenting views.

Whether the full RNC will approve the resolution Friday is unclear, and a source familiar with the deliberations said there could be additional changes.

The resolution read: "The Conference must not be sabotaged by Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who have demonstrated, with actions and words, that they support Democrat efforts to destroy President Trump more than they support winning back a Republican majority in 2022.

"Cheney and Kinzinger have engaged in actions in their positions as members of the January 6th Select Committee not befitting Republican members of Congress," it continued, adding that the two House members "seem intent on advancing a political agenda to buoy the Democrat Party’s bleak prospects in the upcoming midterm elections."

The source familiar with the proceedings said the resolution was advanced during a "very smooth process" aside from "one moment where they had to stop ... because a certain member was live-tweeting the events, at which point that member was called out for it and the process continued."

That person was Tyler Bowyer, an RNC member from Arizona.

The resolution was met with immediate criticism from Cheney and Kinzinger.

"The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy," Cheney said in a statement Thursday. "I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump."

"History will be their judge," she added. "I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what."

Kinzinger said in a statement that his "efforts will continue to be focused on standing up for truth and working to fight the political matrix that's led us to this point."

"Rather than focus their efforts on how to help the American people, my fellow Republicans have chosen to censure two lifelong members of their party for simply upholding their oaths of office," he said. "They've allowed conspiracies and toxic tribalism [to] hinder their ability to see clear-eyed."

The resolution puts RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in an awkward spot. She told reporters at a breakfast meeting in November that she still considers Cheney to be a Republican, but she also remains close to Trump, who installed her in the job after he won the 2016 election.

Some House Republicans have pushed for GOP leaders to remove Cheney from the conference. Both Cheney and Kinzinger have been deeply critical of Trump and his role in fomenting the Jan. 6 riot.

Republicans last year removed Cheney from her position in the House GOP leadership in response to her criticism of Trump.

Some RNC officials who spoke with NBC News this week sounded uncomfortable with the idea of punishing Cheney and Kinzinger for voicing dissenting views, criticizing Trump and assisting Democrats in the congressional investigation of the Capitol riot.

"I believe if you’re trying to build a big church, as I’m trying to build in Illinois, you don’t excommunicate people who are alleged to have sinned," state GOP Chairman Don Tracy said Wednesday. "Politics is about addition, not subtraction."

Others said they were backing the resolution enthusiastically — and expected it to pass Friday.

"I think they’ve gone off the reservation," said Morton Blackwell, a veteran RNC committeeman from Virginia. "Kinzinger has always been a contrarian Republican, and Liz Cheney had lots of redeeming features — but she’s gone off the reservation. It’s intolerable. If you’re going to have a political party, there has to be some discipline involved. There have to be some limits."