Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday issued a stern indictment of his Republican colleagues for their rhetoric on vaccines, accusing the GOP of fearmongering to raise money off President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandates.
The anti-Trump Republican congressman said in a CBS interview the stigma attached to vaccines in Republican-leaning areas is “insane and silly,” accusing GOP leaders of failing to “stand up and give cover” for people to get vaccinated.
Kinzinger said Biden “has a point” in accusing some GOP governors of being “cavalier” in their opposition to vaccine mandates, arguing Biden’s recent mandates will “save lives.”
The GOP has been in a furor over the mandate, which covers all federal workers and contractors, as well as regulations requiring employers with 100 or more workers to have vaccine-or-test mandates and forcing health care providers that get medicare or medicaid funds to mandate vaccines for staff.
Kinzinger said fellow Republicans in Congress, some of whom have openly called for supporters to resist the mandates, are out to “manipulate our base, raise money off of them and not care about their life,” which, he said, is “actually pretty sad.”
Kinzinger specifically accused Republicans of sending fundraising emails with claims like, after the vaccine mandate, “Next thing, the Gestapo is going to show up at your door and take your bible away,” which, he said, is “not going to happen.”
In a fundraising email sent out on Sunday morning, former President Donald Trump’s PAC said Biden’s orders are “what TOTALITARIAN DICTATORSHIP looks like,” urging supporters to donate to “fight for your freedom.”
At least one Republican has compared the orders to the Gestapo, the secret police force of Nazi Germany. “Do not comply with the tyranny, and when the Gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do,” Josh Mandel, a leading Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, said in a video posted to Twitter.
Kinzinger, a member of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, said the Capitol fence is being re-installed ahead of a September 18 “Justice for J6” rally aimed at supporting Capitol riot defendants. “We know that the fence is coming back up. We expect to be briefed this week,” he said.
“It’s important that we as Republicans, frankly, and as Americans, stand up and say we shouldn’t be at this point where we are truly worried for the seat of government every few months when there is a protest. So I hope it goes off well,” Kinzinger said of the rally.