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US Republicans: Capitol siege 'legitimate' discourse

February 5, 2022

The party censured two lawmakers for joining the investigation and former Vice President Mike Pence said Donald Trump was "wrong" to think he could overturn the election.

A supporter of President Donald Trump carries a Confederate battle flag on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol
Events on Jan. 6 at the US Capitol are deeply divides in the Republican PartyImage: Mike TheilerREUTERS

Republicans on Friday described the deadly riot at the US Capitol and events that led to it as "legitimate political discourse."

It censured two of its lawmakers, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, for investigating the attempted insurrection.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) meeting in Salt Lake City, accused them of helping to persecute "ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse."

On January 6, last year, a mob stormed the Capitol building to halt the confirmation of President Joe Biden's election victory.

Former President Donald Trump's claims of election fraud fueled the mob. Five people died, and over 130 police officers were injured.

"Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line. 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," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said, trying to clarify the statement later.

She "condemned violence on both sides of the aisle."

Cheney posted a video on Twitter showing the violent clashes between rioters and the police, saying it was not "legitimate political discourse."

Pence rebukes Trump

At a separate event, Mike Pence, Trump's vice-president, said the former president was "wrong" to claim that Pence could have overturned the results of the 2020 presidential election.

"I had no right to overturn the election," Pence told the conservative Federalist Society in Florida.

Former US  Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Federalist Society
Pence said Trump was 'wrong' to suggest he had the right to overturn the electionImage: M. Dowell/Lake Buena Vista Sentinel /AP/picture alliance

Trump said Sunday Pence could have "overturned" the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6, when he presided over the certification process in Congress.

Pence shot back and said: "Frankly, there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American President."

"Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election. And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024," he said.

The audience applauded Pence's line about beating the Democrats in the upcoming presidential election but remained silent when Pence said earlier that "Trump is wrong."

lo/aw (AP, AFP, Reuters)