Republicans were frustrated with comments Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel made while censuring Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) for their role on the House committee investigating former President Donald Trump‘s involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

“Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line,” McDaniel said. “They chose to join Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol.”

The use of “legitimate political discourse” to describe the events of January 6 frustrated Republicans like Senate GOP Whip John Thune (South Dakota) who felt the wording was not beneficial.

When asked if McDaniel should step down, Thune responded, “Oh, I don’t know. Ultimately, it will be up to the RNC. But it’s just not a constructive move when you’re trying to win elections and take on Democrats, to take on Republicans. It’s just not helpful.”

Multiple Republicans reached out to McDaniel privately, including her uncle Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) who said the two have exchanged text messages.

“It could not have been a more inappropriate message,” Romney added. “Anything that my party does that comes across as being stupid is not going to help us.”

Some feel that the censure move is dangerous to begin with.

“I think the whole censure thing is a slippery slope. Are we going to censure Marc Short for showing up to testify before the committee? Are we going to censure Mike Pence if he cooperates?” said New Jersey committeeman Bill Palatucci, referring to the former vice president and his chief of staff, who just testified in front of the Jan. 6 committee after being subpoenaed.

While this was a distraction, Republicans have made it clear that their sights are set on the midterm elections and gaining back control of the House and the Senate.

“I think all of us up here want to talk about forward and not backward,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said. “We want to talk about why we should be in charge of the House and the Senate, and when you’re not talking about that, that takes you in the wrong direction.”

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