Pelosi blasts RNC for attempt to reframe Jan. 6 as 'legitimate political discourse'

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday condemned the Republican National Committee for its attempt to reframe the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as "legitimate political discourse."

"The Republicans seem to be having a limbo contest with themselves to see how low they can go," Pelosi said at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill. "They seem to have reached rock bottom with their statement."

On Friday the RNC voted to censure Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for their participation in the House select committee investigating the assault, which was carried out by the supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

"Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse," the resolution adopted by the RNC reads.

Pelosi said such a statement is evidence that the GOP has been "hijacked" by Trump loyalists who are too scared to cross him.

"Take back your party from this cult," Pelosi said. "America needs a strong Republican Party."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds up her right fist as she speaks during her weekly news conference.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

The House speaker also criticized Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for refusing to condemn the RNC's suggestion that the events of Jan. 6 were "legitimate political discourse."

"It was disturbing to see that the Republican leader of the House actually, literally refused to condemn that resolution," she said. "Republicans can run but they cannot hide from what happened on January 6th to call that legitimate political discourse — 140 law enforcement officers were wounded, some people died. It was an assault on our Capitol, our Congress and more importantly an assault on our democracy."

On Tuesday, McCarthy was asked by CNN's Manu Raju whether he agreed with the RNC statement. McCarthy insisted that the phrase "legitimate political discourse" was referring to subpoenas issued by the committee to six RNC members who were not at the Capitol on the day of the assault.

The RNC resolution, though, does not mention that detail anywhere in its text.

McCarthy's response was in stark contrast to that of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Tuesday issued a forceful rebuke to the Republican National Committee.

"Let me give you my view on what happened on Jan. 6. We all were here," McConnell said. "It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election."