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Zirpoli: In their own words: Republican leaders on Trump, the election, Jan. 6 and the recount | COMMENTARY

What do Republican officials have to say about the 2020 presidential election, the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the third recount in Maricopa County, Arizona? Here they are in their own words:

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (Jan. 8): “The president’s language and rhetoric crossed the line and it was reckless. I disagree with it and I have disagreed … with the language and rhetoric for the last four years.”

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Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Jan. 13): “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell (Feb. 13): “The issue is not only the president’s intemperate language on January 6th,” but “also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe,” including “the increasingly wild myths of a landslide election that was somehow being stolen. There’s no question” that Trump “is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.”

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Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney (Jan. 12): “The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing.”

Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger (Jan. 12): “Liz Cheney is saying exactly what Kevin McCarthy said. … She has just consistently been saying it.

Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan (May 9): “It just bothers me that you have to swear fealty to the dear leader or you get kicked out of the party. It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s sort of a circular firing squad where we’re just attacking members of our own party instead of focusing on solving problems or standing up and having an argument that we can debate the Democrats on.”

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney (May 10): “Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few.”

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Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger (May 10): “That was a lie that led to violence. We’ve had leaders in our party — Donald Trump, members of Congress — that have convinced their base because it’s easier to do that than to tell them the truth.”

Republican Pollster Whit Ayres (May 10): “They will also say there’s no room in today’s Republican Party for anyone willing to be honest about the 2020 election and the events of Jan. 6. That does not strike me as the best way to get back the suburban voters who’ve left the party in the last few years.”

Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst (May 10): “And you know, cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it, and unfortunately, I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party.”

Former National Republican Party Chair Michael Steele (May 10): “My, how the mighty have fallen and sunken to the lowest of lows that Donald Trump is your savior. The reality of it is, Donald Trump five years ago was someone that everyone was like, ‘Why is he here?’ And now they’re kicking everyone else out of the room because he is here.”

Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger (May 12), “Liz has committed the sin of being consistent and telling the truth. The truth is that the election was not stolen. 74 million voters were not disenfranchised — they were just outnumbered. And it’s important for our party to take inventory of that and go out and win the next election instead of continuing the big lie.”

Arizona Republican State Sen. Paul Boyer on the third recount in Maricopa County by a Republican company with no ballot counting experience headed by a Trump supporter (May 7): “It makes us look like idiots.”

Arizona Republican Maricopa County election official Stephen Richer (May 15): “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a county.”

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (May 12): “I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, on the floor of the Senate after the Trump-inspired insurrection (May 6): “The final thing. Joe Biden. He won. He’s the legitimate president of the United States. I cannot convince people, certain groups, by my words, but I will tell you by my actions that maybe I above all others in this body need to say this: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected.”

Senator Graham back in 2016 after Trump secured the Republican Party nomination for President, “I just really believe that the Republican Party has been conned here.”

Tom Zirpoli is the program coordinator of the Human Services Management graduate program at McDaniel College. He writes from Westminster. His column appears Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

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