Feb 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP Rep. Kinzinger's family accuses him of being with "devil's army" for breaking with Trump

Kinzinger wears a face mask and a suit and tie
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Adam Kinzinger's (R-Ill.) family members sent him a handwritten letter in the days following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, calling him "a disappointment" for saying President Trump should be removed from office, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The early admonishment highlights the political and personal risks now faced by Republicans who have spoken out against Trump. Most of the House Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment have been censured, a trend now happening among the Senate Republicans who broke party lines.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested over the weekend that political consequences could even be seen by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who acquitted Trump and then condemned him as "practically and morally responsible for provoking the events" of the Capitol insurrection.

  • “I would imagine if you're a Republican running in Arizona or Georgia or New Hampshire, where we have a chance to take back the Senate, they may be playing Sen. McConnell's speech and asking you about it as a candidate,” Graham said.
  • “And I imagine if you're an incumbent Republican, there are going to be people asking you if will you support Sen. McConnell in the future.”

What they're saying: Kinzinger responded to the letter on Monday via Twitter.

  • "I’m ok, more sad that someone would be willing to choose a man over family. And sad that it’s happening to so many," he said, referring to former "Fox and Friends" host Gretchen Carlson's comment that "being disowned, cut off and disparaged" for criticizing Trump "is happening to families all across America right now."
  • Kinzinger's cousin, Karen Otto, wrote the letter and told the Times: “I wanted Adam to be shunned."
  • The letter accused the congressman of being in "the devil's army" due to publicly breaking with Trump. He was the first Republican member of Congress to call for the former president to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment.

The big picture: Kinzinger had been consistently critical of Trump's most controversial moments prior to the Jan. 6 attack.

Where it stands: He was censured early this month by the LaSalle County, Illinois, Republican Central Committee. The state's Iroquois County GOP also voted to censure him on Monday.

Go deeper