Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who announced last week he would not seek reelection in 2022, said Sunday that he was in no position to rescue the Republican Party from its infatuation with former President Donald Trump.
After Kinzinger’s announcement, Trump said, “2 down, 8 to go!” It was a reference to Kinzinger (R-Ill.) being the second House Republican who had voted to impeach him to announce his retirement, following Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez.
“This is not on, you know, the 10 of us that voted to impeach,” Kinzinger said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s not on [Wyoming Rep.] Liz Cheney and I to save the Republican Party. It’s on the 190 Republicans who haven’t said a dang word about it, and they put their head in the sand and hope somebody else comes along and does something.”
Acknowledging his decision was “potentially” a win for Trump, Kinzinger said it is the GOP establishment that is constantly handing Trump victories, particularly in supporting his baseless statements that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“I don’t think it was my decision that would hand Donald Trump a win,” he told host George Stephanopoulos. “I actually think what’s going on here is if he runs in 2024, he’ll be the front-runner no doubt, but I think the Republican establishment now, whether it’s the NRCC, whether it’s [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy, have held onto Donald Trump. It’s not handing a win as much to Donald Trump as it is to the cancerous kind of lie and conspiracy.”
Kinzinger also said that redistricting by Democrats in Illinois, which would have made his reelection more difficult, was a factor in his departure. And he said a lot of Americans are feeling alienated from the two major political parties these days. “There’s a lot of people that feel politically homeless,” he said.
Kinzinger and Cheney are the only Republicans on the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. He declined to speculate whether the president could be prosecuted for his role in the events of that day.
“I don’t feel comfortable making that statement yet,” he said. “I’ll say this: We’re getting a lot of information. We are continuing to learn things every day. Some of which gets out to the press. Some that doesn’t. If the president was aware of what was going to happen, didn’t lift a finger to do anything about it, that’s up to the DOJ to make that decision.”