Ted Cruz breaks with Mitch McConnell and says it’s a ‘mistake’ for Republicans to call January 6 an ‘insurrection’

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz.Win McNamee/Getty Images

  • Sen. Ted Cruz pushed back on Republicans who call January 6 an “insurrection.”

  • “It is a mistake for Republicans to repeat the political propaganda,” he told CNN’s Ted Barrett.

  • Cruz previously called the Capitol riot a “terrorist attack” but has since rejected that language.

Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday criticized his Republican colleagues who have called the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot an “insurrection,” a day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described the attack as a “violent insurrection.”

“I think it is a mistake for Republicans to repeat the political propaganda of Democrats and the corporate media,” the Texas Republican told CNN’s Ted Barrett.

The senator also pushed back on the phrase “armed insurrection” being used by Republican leadership to describe the attack, CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane said.

In the aftermath of the Capitol riot, Cruz condemned the violence as a “terrorist attack” and repeatedly used that language to describe the day’s events.

Video: Where are the Capitol insurrectionists one year later?

But last month, when Cruz again called the Capitol riot a “terrorist attack,” he walked back that language after widespread backlash from conservative figures, including the Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Cruz appeared on Carlson’s nightly show to apologize for his characterization of the events, saying: “I agree it was a mistake to use the word yesterday because the Democrats and the corporate media have so politicized it.”

The Texas senator is part of a growing chorus of Republicans who have sought to minimize the riot or shift attention away from it.

More recently, the Republican National Committee voted to censure GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, two members of the House select committee investigating the riot. The censure resolution described the committee as a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” The move triggered outcry from Democrats and some Republican lawmakers who rejected the RNC’s description of January 6 and the censure vote.

“We were all here. We saw what happened. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also criticized the RNC’s decision, telling reporters on Monday: “Every moment that is spent relitigating a lost election or defending those who have been convicted of criminal behavior moves us farther away from the goal of victory this fall.”

More than 760 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, when crowds of Trump supporters violently stormed the building, which resulted in hundreds of injuries and several deaths.

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