SALT LAKE CITY — The Republican National Committee voted Friday to censure Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the latest condemnation of the two Republican members of Congress who’ve repeatedly spoken out against former president Donald Trump.
The party passed the measure by a voice vote during Friday's session of the RNC winter meeting.
The resolution, first introduced by David Bossie of Maryland, originally included language endorsing expelling the two members from the party’s House conference but was later adjusted.
“We don't want to disenfranchise those voters,” said Harmeet Dhillon, a member of the California GOP, after a Resolutions Committee vote on the censure on Thursday. “But at the same way, we want to send a message that we are disapproving of their conduct.” Thursday’s vote was unanimous, she said.
Cheney and Kinzinger, she said, “decided to cross party lines, basically, in violation of our protocol. That's viewed as deeply offensive and a repudiation of the party, so this is the party’s repudiation of them.”
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel spoke in favor of the resolution, according to Dhillon, who talked to reporters immediately following the committee’s vote.
“I suspect neither of them is going to be in Congress,” Dhillon said when asked about whether the party would be better off focusing on the midterms. “So they really have no standing to say that.”
Cheney blasted her party's leadership in a statement Thursday night responding to the planned RNC move.
“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," she said. "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. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what."
Cheney and Kinzinger have massively frustrated their party over the last year, particularly in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. They were two of the 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after the attack, and they later became the only Republicans to participate in the House committee investigating the riot and its causes. Cheney in May was removed from her leadership role in the House Republican caucus for repeatedly denouncing Trump.
Kinzinger is retiring from Congress after his current term is up. Cheney, however, is running for reelection and faces a primary challenger backed by Trump.
The censure vote is just one of many issues the RNC is considering at its winter meeting. Party officials are expected to discuss a series of other changes, including guidelines for the 2024 Republican presidential nominating process and how the RNC will engage in future presidential debates. The committee is also hearing from representatives from possible host cities for the 2024 Republican National Convention: Nashville, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City.