Rep Adam Kinzinger (R—IL), an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, warned in a new interview the GOP “will be a regional party that won’t compete on the national stage” unless it distances itself from the former president.
The Illinois lawmaker revealed he regretted casting a ballot for the former president as he sought re-election, shortly after it became clear he had lost to President Joe Biden and subsequently ramped up his false claims of widespread voter fraud.
Speaking to CNN from his home state, Mr Kinzinger said: “If [the GOP] doesn’t want to be changed, that’s a decision Republicans get to make. If that’s the case long-term, I think we will lose elections and will be a regional party that won’t compete on the national stage.”
Mr Kinzinger voted for Mr Trump, but he also later voted to impeach the former president a second time for his conduct during the Capitol insurrection in January, when his extremist supporters clashed with police and security officials as he continued promoting false claims of voter fraud on social media.
The Republican congressman, who now faces backlash from the former president’s loyal supporters within the GOP, said he was aware of the potential threat his condemnation of Mr Trump could have on his political career.
“It could be a kamikaze mission,” he told the outlet. “But it could be the thing that saves the Republican Party.”
Mr Kinzinger has used his platform in recent months to advocate for other Republicans and his GOP colleagues to join him in disavowing the former president, and even used his impeachment vote to help recruit others in the cause.
However, he acknowledged there was still a long way to go, with polls showing Mr Trump ahead of any other potential competitors for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
“There’s a lot of people on board. They’re not just super public — especially in my business,” he said. “I think a lot of folks are waiting to see where it goes. I don’t blame them.”
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