HELENA — Former Montana governor Marc Racicot – and former chair of the Republican National Committee – is condemning the current RNC for its recent move to censure GOP U.S. Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger in connection with the House inquiry into the January 2021 Capitol riot.
In an open letter to RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, the former two-term governor and confidante of President George W. Bush said it’s a “sad day” when the party feels compelled to censure two members for performing “their assigned congressional duties with honor and integrity.”
Racicot also dismissed former President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud in 2020 as “piffle,” and said the intraparty scuffle with Cheney and Kinzinger could backfire and hurt GOP chances during the 2022 elections.
Cheney, from Wyoming, and Kinzinger, from Illinois, are the only Republicans on a House select committee investigating the circumstances of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Trump.
Earlier this month, the RNC censured Cheney and Kinzinger for taking part in what it called a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse,” referring to the committee’s investigation.
Racicot, a Republican, served as governor of Montana from 1993-2000, chaired the Republican National Committee in 2002-03 and chaired Bush’s successful re-election campaign in 2004.
Racicot’s letter to McDaniel said the censure resolution for Cheney and Kinzinger should be withdrawn, for it risks alienating many Republicans or potential Republican voters that believe in “decency, integrity, honor and faithfulness to the best interests of the Republic.”
Cheney and Kinzinger are not engaged in “sabotage” of GOP efforts or trying to “destroy” Trump, as stated in the censure resolution, but rather are performing their investigative duties and searching for the truth, he said.
Racicot also said while it’s easy to blame Trump’s 2020 defeat on widespread voter fraud, “there is not even a scintilla of evidence, anywhere, to support such piffle.”
Racicot said publicly in 2020 that he would vote for Democrat Joe Biden, rather than Trump.
The Montana Republican Party did not return a message asking for comment on Racicot’s letter.