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Goldman to launch effort to censure Stefanik for calling Jan. 6 rioters ‘hostages’

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) is introducing a resolution to censure House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) for calling the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, “hostages.”

Goldman, who announced the effort Wednesday, argued that the description — which mimicked language used by former President Trump — “demeans” the situation of hostages being held in Gaza following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this month, Stefanik said, “I have concerns about the treatment of Jan. 6 hostages” after being asked if individuals who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 should be held responsible by the law.

“By echoing Trump’s reference to the criminally convicted January 6 insurrectionists as ‘hostages,’ Congresswoman Stefanik both demeans the actual hostages currently held in captivity in Gaza and provides support for those who attacked the Capitol to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, caused the death of five law enforcement officers, injured more than 100 others, and threatened violence against members of Congress and their staffs,” Goldman said in a statement.

“Her rhetoric betrays her oath of office and the House of Representatives and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” he added.

Goldman plans to introduce the resolution at around 5 p.m. EST, his office told The Hill. The legislation is not, however, privileged, which means GOP leadership would have to choose to bring it to the floor for consideration — which is highly unlikely. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) called the effort “patently absurd.”

“The idea that he would use censure to attack a political opponent is just ridiculous,” he added.

In a statement responding to Goldman’s effort, Stefanik Executive Director Alex DeGrasse called Goldman “a corrupt radical New York Democrat.”

“Dan Goldman and Democrats are desperate because they know Joe Biden is going to lose this November,” DeGrasse added.

The censure resolution, which spans four pages, accuses Stefanik of supporting “the duly charged and convicted January 6 insurrectionists, who attacked the United States Capitol,” and it writes that she “attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 Presidential election.”

The legislation includes a number of comments Stefanik has made about special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the federal investigation into Trump’s actions surrounding Jan. 6, including saying Smith’s Jan. 6 indictment against the former president “attempts to criminalize the First Amendment,” and is an effort by President Biden to “suppress the will of the voters” and “meddle with the election using the Department of Justice.”

It also references Stefanik referring to the Jan. 6 select committee as a “witch hunt.”

Goldman’s censure effort follows a recent trend in the House of lawmakers using the formal rebuke on a more frequent basis. Of the 27 lawmakers censured in the history of the House, three occurred in the current Congress.

Despite the increased use of censures, the punishment is largely symbolic; there are no repercussions for the nonbinding resolution, but it does carry the stigma of being disciplined by fellow lawmakers.

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