Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday expressed unease about the Republican Party winning the congressional majority in the 2022 midterms if it continues on its current trajectory, a rare instance of a sitting congressman breaking with his own party on whether it should win elections.
Kinzinger, asked in a CNN interview if voters should entrust his party with control of Congress, said they should not if it’s “pushing conspiracy and pushing division and pushing lies.”
The Illinois congressman added that the GOP needs to “embrace truth,” have a “full reckoning” on the Capitol riot and “turn away from conspiracy” to earn that trust.
Kinzinger is increasingly at odds with many members of his party over their denial of the 2020 election results and downplaying of the Capitol riot – a rift exacerbated by his membership on a House Capitol riot select committee likely targeting GOP members.
Kinzinger said in the interview it is “really bad politics” for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to threaten companies that comply with the panel’s request to preserve the phone records and data of Capitol riot defendants and others who sought to overturn the election.
He also took aim at members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus who have made similar threats and called for him to be booted from the House GOP, accusing them of “talking about things like ‘bloodshed,’” and “flirting around with white nationalism.”
Forbes has reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.
9. That’s the number of members on the Jan. 6 select committee, seven Democrats, Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was recently named the panel’s vice chair. McCarthy withdrew his five appointments to the panel in July after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to seat two of them: Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
Cheney, like Kinzinger, has frequently broken with fellow House Republicans over their steadfast support for former President Donald Trump and contempt for efforts to investigate the Capitol riot. She said McCarthy lacks the “commitment to the Constitution” necessary to be speaker after he pulled his appointees in July.
“Is it obstruction? I don’t know… but I would certainly recommend he never go there again,” Kinzinger said of McCarthy in the interview, who has been accused by an ethics watchdog of obstructing the Capitol riot probe with his threats to telecom companies. “That, to me, is a pretty scary place to go in this world if we start using our power as a way to get the outcome we want,” he added.
What To Watch For
Freedom Caucus members are pushing McCarthy to allow the House GOP conference to vote on a rule that would boot members who get committee assignments without the blessing of GOP leadership, which would oust Cheney and Kinzinger for taking their appointments to the Jan. 6 panel from Pelosi. McCarthy has not said whether he will allow a vote.