Former Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, denounced ex-Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s excuse on Sunday for not speaking out against freeing those charged and convicted of crimes during the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

Trump, who is the presumed GOP presidential nominee in the 2024 election, has said that if he gets back in the White House, one of the first things he will do is pardon the charged and jailed Capitol rioters, who he has repeatedly called “hostages.”

On January 6, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. following claims from Trump that Joe Biden’s 2020 election win was stolen from him via widespread voter fraud. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claims.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), over 1,358 people have been charged for crimes related to the riot, including more than 486 people charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, which is a felony.

When asked by NBC News’ Kristen Welker on Sunday’s Meet the Press if she supports Trump’s statements, McDaniel said: “The violence that happened on January 6, is unacceptable. It doesn’t represent our country. It certainly does not represent my party…I put a statement out that day that this is not acceptable. If you attacked our Capitol and you have been convicted than that should stay.”

Welker said that Trump has been making these kinds of statements for months, asking McDaniel, “Why not speak out earlier?”

McDaniel responded: “When you’re the RNC Chair, you kind of take one for the whole team,” McDaniel responded. “Now I get to be a little bit more myself.”

McDaniel served as the leader of the RNC since 2017 when she was hand-picked by Trump. Before leading the RNC, she served as chair of the Michigan Republican Party. NBC News announced Friday that McDaniel was joining the network as an on-air contributor, following her resignation as the RNC chair earlier this month.

Liz Cheney/Ronna McDaniel
Former Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, is seen on June 26, 2023, in New York City. Then-RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is seen on November 8, 2023, in Miami. Cheney denounced McDaniel’s excuse on Sunday…


Gary Gershoff/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cheney, who served as Wyoming’s at-large district representative from 2017 to 2023, commented on McDaniel’s interview on X, formerly Twitter.

“Ronna facilitated Trump’s corrupt fake elector plot & his effort to pressure MI officials not to certify the legitimate election outcome,” she wrote Sunday. “She spread his lies & called 1/6 ‘legitimate political discourse.’ That’s not ‘taking one for the team.’ It’s enabling criminality & depravity.”

Newsweek reached out to the University of Virginia Center for Politics where Cheney is a faculty member and NBC via email for comment.

Cheney has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s election claims and the violence that ensued on January 6, which led to her losing her House seat in the 2022 midterm elections. She was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection and was one of two Republicans to serve on the bipartisan January 6 House select committee, which was created to investigate the riot and Trump’s actions surrounding it. Trump was later acquitted by the Senate.

Following the select committee’s finding, Trump was indicted by the DOJ in August 2023 on four federal felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights, all regarding his activities surrounding the Capitol riot. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and claimed that the charges are politically motivated against him.