Breaking with many in his party and with the Trump line, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the Jan. 6, 2021, events on Capitol Hill as a "violent insurrection" and criticized the Republican National Committee (RNC) for its censure of Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., The Hill reports.
"It was a violent insurrection with the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election. ... That's what it was," McConnell said.
Former President Donald Trump branded McConnell a RINO (Republican In Name Only) in November, Newsweek reported, when the Kentucky Republican joined 18 other GOP senators in voting for President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill. His latest comments are sure to reinforce that perception among Trump's base.
"Very sad that the RINOs in the House and Senate gave Biden and Democrats a victory on the 'Non-Infrastructure' Bill, where only 11% of the money being wasted goes to real infrastructure," Trump said in a statement at the time. "How about all of those Republican Senators that voted thinking that helping the Democrats is such a wonderful thing to do, so politically correct. They just don't get it!"
"All Republicans who voted for Democrat longevity should be ashamed of themselves, in particular Mitch McConnell, for granting a two month stay which allowed the Democrats time to work things out at our Country's, and the Republican Party's, expense!" he added.
In an interview with The Washington Post, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the party has had two members "engage in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse," referring to the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol building.
Kinzinger and Cheney are members of the select Jan. 6 congressional committee tasked with investigating what happened.
Speaking to the censure resolution, McConnell told The Hill that, while he has confidence in McDaniel, it is traditionally the RNC's job to support all Republicans.
"This 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. "That's not the job of the RNC."
In a statement Saturday, Trump came out swinging against the two censured GOP members.
"Congratulations to the Republican National Committee (RNC) and its Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, on their great ruling in censuring Liz Cheney and Cryin' Adam Kinzinger, two horrible RINOs who put themselves ahead of our Country," the former president said. "They have almost no approval ratings, and the Republican Party would be far better off without them!"
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