(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called out GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, saying he "literally ran away" from ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott as she asked him one day earlier about the Republican National Committee censure resolution -- a moment that has now captured international headlines and produced countless memes.
"Republicans seem to be having a limbo contest with themselves to see how low they can go," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill. "They seem to have reached rock bottom with their statement that what happened on January 6 was normal political discourse -- legitimate, legitimate political discourse."
The House speaker directly blasted her Republican counterpart for repeatedly dodging questions on the censure resolution in what's unfolding as a defining moment for the GOP.
"It's disturbing to see that Republican leader of the House ran -- actually literally refused to condemn that resolution of legitimate political discourse. He literally ran away from the press when he was asked about his position," Pelosi said.
"Republicans can run but they cannot hide from what happened on January 6," she said. "To call that legitimate political discourse: 140 law enforcement officers were wounded, some people die. It was an assault on Capitol, on Congress. More importantly, an assault on our democracy."
McCarthy has not publicly responded.
Pelosi went on to equate the Republican Party with a "cult" -- echoing messaging from House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, who said earlier this week that the "C" in "RNC" stands for "cult."
"I say this to Republicans all the time: 'Take back your party from this cult.' Take back your party. America needs a strong Republican Party and a strong Democratic Party," she added.
ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega asked the White House on Tuesday for reaction to the RNC resolution and whether they agree with some Democrats' characterization that the GOP is a "cult."
"I think it's clear to Americans that what happened on January 6 was not legitimate political discourse, storming the Capitol in an attempt to halt the peaceful transition of power is not legitimate political discourse, neither is attacking and injuring over 140 police officers, smashing windows and to defiling offices," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
"It's telling to all of us that some leading Republicans have projected that characterization, including the former president's national security adviser and the chief of staff to the former vice president, who, as he put it, had a front-row seat that day, including as rioters chanted for the former Vice President to be hanged," she continued. "So again, we certainly reject the notion that that was legitimate political discourse as we think – very a large number of Americans would as well."
Pelosi putting Republicans on blast comes one day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, asked about the "legitimate political discourse" language the RNC used directly, pointedly characterized Jan. 6 as a "violent insurrection" and suggested the RNC was out of line to single out sitting members.
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