- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 2, 2022

A resolution to remove Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the House GOP conference is gaining momentum at the Republican National Committee‘s winter meeting this week in Salt Lake City.

The resolution, which has picked 50 co-sponsors, intends to punish the lawmakers for participating as the only two GOP members on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. If the resolution passes out of a committee meeting Thursday, it will go to a vote by all 168 RNC members on Friday.

Jonathan Barnett, an RNC committeeman from Arkansas, is spearheading the resolution and expects it to pass.

The resolution, however, is more of a symbolic rebuke than expulsion from the party. It would not kick Ms. Cheney or Mr. Kinzinger out of the House Republican Conference, only the conference can eject its members.

“It’s really just an expression of the opinion of the RNC members, so if it does get out, it has no force or effect,” said Curly Haugland, a former Republican National Committeeman from North Dakota. “I mean, the RNC has no control over anybody. They can’t tell who comes into the party, much less, who leaves.” 

Ms. Cheney said the resolution was more of a bad reflection on the RNC members than on her.

“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 in a statement to The Times. “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.”

Ms. Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has a tattered relationship with her state party and Republicans in Washington after she voted to impeach President Trump in 2021 and then became one of the most vocal anti-Trump Republicans in the party.

She was ejected from House GOP leadership in May. The Wyoming GOP later voted not to recognize her as a Republican. She is also facing a Trump-backed primary challenger this election cycle.

However, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel last year said that Ms. Cheney was “still a Republican” despite the state party vote against her. Mrs. McDaniel said, “But I get from a state party standpoint when you have a congressperson or a senator who’s not supporting your state party, who’s not talking about electing Republicans up and down the ballot.”

The RNC did not respond to a request for comment about the resolution.

Mr. Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who was elected in 2010, is a diehard Trump critic. He has announced that he was not seeking reelection. Like Ms. Cheney, he was among 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Mr. Trump in 2021.

“We’ll see what happens. I think their time would be better served by focusing on 2022 rather than an unprecedented and shortsighted effort to purge two lifelong Republicans for simply telling the truth and upholding their oaths of office,” Maura Gillespie, Mr. Kinzinger‘s deputy chief of staff, told The Washington Times.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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