GOP Congressman Rips His Colleagues For Following Trump Lies

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In a new profile for The New York Times, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) had harsh words for his fellow Republicans who have enabled the spread of former President Trump’s lies about the integrity of last year’s election. Those lies directly led to the attack by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol in January, so in providing space for the nonsense, top Republicans are also allowing space for insurrection. As Kinzinger put it, referencing House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the deadly Capitol riot: “I don’t see how we’re ever going to come eye-to-eye on this until there is a recognition that we can’t be the party of insurrection.” In other words, Kinzinger outlined how the insurrection ties right back to what has been unfolding within the Republican Party with Trump at the helm.

In the time since the insurrection, numerous Republicans have wavered in their stances regarding Trump’s election lies. McCarthy himself blamed Trump for the Capitol riot — yet opposed Trump’s impeachment on a charge of incitement of insurrection and opposed recent efforts to create an independent, non-Congressional commission to investigate the violence. McCarthy also opposed the creation of a House committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the riot. (Kinzinger, meanwhile, still holds Trump responsible for the Capitol violence.) More broadly, most prominent Republicans have simply refused to go unequivocally against the false claim that last year’s election was somehow rigged for Biden. Kinzinger suggested that those cowardly Republicans should get another job.

As Kinzinger put it:

‘If you’re scared to tell the truth to people, I understand, but you need to find a different line of work. On something as existential as this, as threatening to the Constitution — my goodness. I understand that fear, but I do fully blame them. Because you signed up and ran for the job, and this job comes with tough times.’

Kinzinger also directly addressed Trump, comparing him to a “gangrenous limb.” Kinzinger says that he voted for Trump in 2020 but would take it back if he could. As he put it:

‘The best analogy I can give: [Trump’s] like a gangrenous limb. But then that limb gets cut off, and now you don’t have a leg. He’s a symptom of what probably was about a quarter of the party that was always kind of conspiracy-driven but was generally suppressed by most normal Republicans. But everybody has fear in their heart, and when somebody, especially somebody in authority, speaks to the darkest parts of your heart, your fears, your racism — it gives you permission to let those things overtake you. That’s what happened with a lot of the rest of the party.’

Now, Kinzinger and just a few other prominent Republicans have proven themselves willing to take any kind of stand against the continuance of Trump’s extremism. Trump lost the presidential election, and the GOP lost control of the House and Senate with him leading the party — but Republicans are, for the most part, sticking by him.