Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, questions witnesses during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: Shawn Thew / Pool via AP

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is leading a chorus of GOP outrage over the Republican National Committee’s defense of the violent attack on the Capitol as “legitimate political discourse.”

The one-time presidential contender even texted his niece, RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, to register his disagreement with the statement that censured Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, and Rep. Adams Kinzinger, R-Illinois, for participating in the congressional probe of Jan. 6.

“To suggest that a violent attack on the seat of democracy is legitimate political discourse is so far from accurate as to … make people wonder what we’re thinking,” Romney said late Monday.

“Anything that my party does that comes across as being stupid is not going to help us,” he said.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, another sometime critic of former President Trump, called it “absurd” to portray a violent riot as a peaceful protest.

“Those who assaulted police officers, broke windows and breached the Capitol were not engaged in legitimate political discourse,” Collins said. “To say otherwise is absurd.”

Even Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 3 GOP leader in the Senate, said: “it was not an accurate description.”

“There was a protest that day that was not violent but there was also a terrible, violent and criminal part of it,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is retiring.

“We were all here …on Jan. 6. I thought that was not a good day for America,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said.

Collins said the GOP would be on course for a resounding victory in the midterms if it stuck to attacking the supposed failings of President Biden, and steered clear of Trump’s conspiracy theories about Jan. 6.

“Every moment that is spent re-litigating a lost of election or defending those who have been convicted of criminal behavior moves us further away from the goal of victory this fall,” she said.

Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News