GOP tensions flare over Jan. 6 attack

Washington DC: Republicans are struggling to break out of a cycle of Jan. 6 controversies, reigniting tensions within the party heading into the 2022 midterm elections.

The fallout from the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) censure resolution is the latest controversy in recent weeks that has sucked up political oxygen and turned the spotlight from the Biden administration, where top GOP lawmakers would like to keep it, to intraparty divisions centered around the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol carried out by a mob of former President Trump’s supporters.

On Tuesday, the top two Republicans in the Capitol took opposite stances responding to questions about the RNC’s resolution, underscoring their different approaches to both Jan. 6 and Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) broke with the RNC over a resolution last week describing the Jan. 6 attack as “legitimate political discourse” and criticized the decision to censure GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Liz Cheney (Wyo.). “It was a violent insurrection with the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election. … That’s what it was,” McConnell said.

A day after his party’s leader called the episode a “violent insurrection”, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) referred to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol as a “violent riot”.

Rubio, in an interview with NewsNation this week, suggested he disagrees with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) characterization of the Jan. 6 attack, saying “riot” is a more accurate descriptor for the event than “insurrection.”

Republicans worry that keeping Jan. 6 in the spotlight will hurt the party heading into the November midterms, where they think issues like inflation and the economy give them a good chance of winning back the House and Senate majorities.

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