Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) isn’t forgetting that the first impeachment of then-President Trump stemmed from the Trump administration withholding military assistance for Ukraine while the Trump team pushed for Ukrainian authorities to pursue investigations that would be favorable to the then-president’s ambitions. According to an official transcript of an infamous phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — the same Ukrainian leader who’s now fighting off a Russian invasion, Zelenskyy spoke of being “almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes,” to which Trump replied: “I would like you to do us a favor though,” launching into a push for those sought after investigations.
Kinzinger said this week that he regrets voting against Trump’s first impeachment — not a single Republican in the House backed it, although a single Senate Republican (Mitt Romney of Utah) eventually voted for conviction. (Kinzinger later voted for Trump’s second impeachment on a charge of incitement of insurrection after the Capitol riot.) As Kinzinger explained it on Friday:
‘I want to be honest, in congress I have only a few votes that in hindsight, I regret. My biggest regret was voting against the first impeachment of Donald Trump. It’s important for political leaders to be transparent and admit regret when needed. The bottom line, Donald Trump withheld lethal aid to Ukraine so he could use it as leverage for his campaign. This is a shameful and illegal act, directly hurting the Ukraine defense today… I wish i could go back in time and Vote for it, but I cannot. What we can do now is to ensure that this NEVER happens again, and that we all put the interests of our nation above our party. [Ret. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman] and others deserve our appreciation.’
Over the weekend, Kinzinger also mocked Trump for being so attached to “manliness” while failing to display traits associated with even the most basic version of it. As Kinzinger put it, “It’s amazing when you think about it: Trump is obsessed with this idea of manliness, and he is the most soft coddled person I’ve met. Not kidding. BUT This has to drive him crazy: [Volodymyr] Zelensky at 5’7” is three times the man both he and [GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.)] are combined.” Trump, it’s important to note, has spoken as though you’ve essentially got to hand it to Putin since this latest devastating stage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict began. Trump claimed that “the problem is not that Putin is smart, which, of course, he’s smart… The problem is that our leaders are dumb… and so far, allowed him to get away with this travesty and assault on humanity.” Besides the fact that the “assault on humanity” language doesn’t sound like Trump personally composed it, just to be clear: Trump made these remarks after Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine started.