Port: NDGOP delegates vote in favor of censure for Cheney, Kinzinger
"We all voted in favor," NDGOP chairman Perrie Schafer says, though he adds that he personally opposes the censure of two Trump critics in Congress.
MINOT, N.D. — The Republican National Committee on Friday, Feb. 4, voted to censure two members of Congress for their criticism of disgraced former President Donald Trump and their participation in the congressional inquiry into the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.
The RNC did the vote in an odd way that seems calculated to distort how the delegates voted.
It was a voice vote, not one where each individual delegate's vote was counted, and five different resolutions were all packaged together into one vote, giving the delegates plenty of wiggle room on how they voted.
Speaking of which, how did the North Dakota Republican Party's delegation vote on the resolutions? "We all voted in favor of all five," NDGOP chairman Perrie Schafer told me.
He noted that the original resolution condemning Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois called for their expulsion from the Republican caucus. As they passed , the resolutions accused the two House Republicans of participating in the “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse" and declared the January 6th riot "legitimate political discourse."
"There was lots of discussions on the topic and the resolution changed from removal from the caucus to censure," Schafer told me. "All five resolutions were in a package that no one wanted to split up. The censure of the two was reduced from removal to censure. I gave a speech at the Midwest region meeting that I don't support censures but in this case alone I'll support it to show solidarity in the RNC."
"However, on the record, I don't support censures."
That echoes what Sen. Kevin Cramer said in a podcast interview with me for Plain Talk. He argued that while he believes in the criticism the RNC resolution levels at Cheney and Kinzinger, he doesn't think the party has the "luxury" of kicking members out.
"I think it's unnecessary and unproductive," he told me.
The RNC has not censured figures such as Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida who is under federal investigation for sex trafficking, nor has Gaetz lost his committee assignments in the Republican caucus.
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar has not been censured by the RNC for speaking at a conference hosted by a Holocaust denier and white supremacist .
But the RNC has censured Cheney and Kinzinger for dissenting from the idea that Donald Trump was a good president who didn't incite his supporters to attack Congress while they were trying to certify an election he lost.
If you're wondering why, I present you with this chart:
Donald Trump has $122 million in his campaign war chest , and the bulk of it has come from small-dollar donors . Most Republicans believe the election was stolen . Some 80% of Republicans still approve of Trump , and about half want him to run for president again in 2024.
The GOP's base is still wildly loyal to Trump, and that has given the RNC the cover to shift the priorities of their party from loyalty to a set of ideas and principles to loyalty to a single person.
The RNC members can argue, correctly, that they're representing the will of most Republicans. The problem is they don't seem to care much if most Republicans are right about Trump.