This week, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) was among those expressing outrage at a widely circulated fundraising text sent out by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which is an official arm of the national Republican Party that handles races for House seats. In the text, the organization told supporters that (among other things) they had one “final chance to prove your loyalty or be branded a deserter” — which, while obviously made up, was meant to intimidate those who might not know better into giving over their money.
Kinzinger characterized the fundraising text, which was clearly based in and intertwined with Trump’s own aggressive tactics, as “sick.” The text — and Kinzinger’s criticism of it — reflects back on Trump himself. As the Congressman put it:
‘When you convince a man that his very life is at stake or he is going to be kicked out of the tribe, he will part with anything. This is sick.’
When you convince a man that his very life is at stake or he is going to be kicked out of the tribe, he will part with anything. This is sick https://t.co/GwjflhgDSQ
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) October 14, 2021
Another prominent figure who spoke out regarding the issue was ret. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who garnered particular prominence after his role in the first impeachment proceedings against Trump. Vindman, who served on the National Security Council at the time, helped share the truth of how Trump had sought to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens in hopes of uncovering politically damaging information on the family. Alongside an image of the NRCC’s message, Vindman observed that “MAGA has a new purity test: give money or you’re a traitor. This is a text they sent to their supporters. Vote to defeat Trumpism.”
MAGA has a new purity test: give money or you’re a traitor. This is a text they sent to their supporters.
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) October 14, 2021
The kind of language in the NRCC text is exactly what helped lay the rhetorical groundwork for the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters back in January. Trump convinced certain members of his base — who were at times eager to accept the nonsense — that some kind of existential battle for the nation was unfolding, with devotion and urgent action for the Trump cause required. Essentially, Trumpism swiftly turned out to be a cult, with its members living their lives in a draconian fairy tale. Now, Kinzinger is a member of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, providing him with an opportunity to help examine these critical security issues.