Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chair of the House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol speaks as the committee meets to hold Steve Bannon, one of former President Donald Trump's allies in contempt, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 19, 2021. Listening are Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Mississippi’s Republican national committeemen and committeewoman were divided on Friday’s RNC vote to formally censure Republican U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for serving on a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Mississippi RNC Committeeman Henry Barbour and Committeewoman Jeanne Luckey were among a minority of RNC members voting against the resolution, which accused the two House Republicans of participating in a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

State GOP Chairman Frank Bordeaux voted for the censure. Luckey was unable to attend the meeting in Salt Lake City last week, and her vote was cast by proxy by Barbour, who said he consulted with her before the vote. The resolution was passed Friday by a voice vote.

RNC delegate Henry Barbour, nephew of former Gov. Haley Barbour

Barbour over the weekend told the Washington Post he voted no, and voiced frustration that “resolutions shooting at other Republicans are never going to be helpful.”

Back home on Monday, Barbour told Mississippi Today: “I see the whole thing as a great distraction to 2022 and winning elections, and it’s not the RNC’s job to be going after Republicans. The original resolution was to purge them — not a great way to grow a political party.”

But Bordeaux said he voted in favor of the resolution out of frustration that the Democrat-led House committee is turning the investigation “into a political fiasco rather than an investigation.”

“There were parts of the resolution I did not like,” Bordeaux said. “But I felt like there needed to be a message sent. January 6 is a serious issue, and should not be turned into a partisan issue.”

READ MORE: Rep. Bennie Thompson tapped to lead committee investigating Jan. 6 riot

Both Bordeaux and Barbour criticized the House committee — led by Mississippi U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson — for “subpoenaing people who weren’t even involved” in the Jan. 6 attack.

While the issue appears to be causing a rift among Republicans in Washington, Bordeaux and Barbour said there are no ill feelings among the state’s RNC delegation over the vote.

“I do understand why there is some anger in the party at Kinzinger and Chaney and over some of the tactics of the House committee,” Barbour said.

READ MORE: Will Rep. Bennie Thompson’s Jan. 6 committee subpoena Trump? “Nobody’s off limits.”


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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.