Former President Donald Trump delighted in Republican Rep Adam Kinzinger’s retirement, highlighting how two of the GOP lawmakers to vote for the ex-president’s impeachment are departing Congress.
“2 down, 8 to go!" Mr Trump said in a pithy statement, referring to the 10 Republicans to buck the former president during his second impeachment over the 6 January Capitol riot.
In announcing his retirement from Congress, Mr Kinzinger said he stands “in awe at the courage” of the other nine GOP House members who voted to impeach Mr Trump after he goaded a mob to storm the Capitol in hopes of stopping Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral college win.
Of those 10 representatives, two – Mr Kinzinger and Ohio’s Anthony Gonzalez – are not seeking re-election, and others such as Wyoming’s Liz Cheney, who along with Mr Kinzinger represent the GOP on the House committee investigating the insurrection, are facing Trump-backed primary challenges.
But while Mr Kinzinger said he will leave Congress when his term expires in January, he did not rule out running for office again.
“This isn’t the end of my political future,” he said,.
The Iraq War veteran, who still serves as a pilot in the Air National Guard, made his announcement just hours after Illinois approved a new congressional district map that would have forced him into a tough primary against fellow Republican Darin LaHood.
Mr Kinzinger said the US is currently in “an incredibly perilous time” due to the polarisation that characterizes political discourse in the era of social media.
“In this day, to prevail or survive you must belong to a tribe – our political parties only survive by appealing to the most motivated and the most extreme elements within...and the price tag for power has skyrocketed, and fear and distrust has served as an effective strategy to meet that cost,” he said.
The Illinois Republican lamented how “dehumanising has become the norm” in today’s politics, and laid out his concerns with Trump-era politics while avoiding use of the former president’s name.
“We’ve allowed leaders to reach power selling the false premise that strength comes from degrading others and dehumanizing those that look, act or think differently than we do. As a country, we’ve fallen for those lies and now we face a poisoned country filled with outrage, blinding our ability to achieve real strength. It has become increasingly obvious to me that as a country, we must unplug from the mistruths we’ve been fed,” he said. “In Congress, I’ve witnessed how division is heavily rooted. There’s little to no desire to bridge our differences, and unity is no longer a word we use. It has also become increasingly obvious to me that in order to break the narrative, I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide”.
Andrew Feinberg contributed to this article.
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