May 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kinzinger: GOP leader has "failed to tell the truth"

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) took aim on Sunday at the leadership of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the day before McCarthy's GOP predecessor hosts a fundraiser for the Illinois lawmaker.

Why it matters: Kinzinger has been a prominent critic of Donald Trump and was one of 10 House Republicans who voted in January to impeach the former president.

  • Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who endorsed McCarthy as his successor in 2018, will headline the fundraiser for Kinzinger.

What he's saying: "I do think that Kevin has failed to tell the truth to the Republicans and to the American people, and it pains me to say it and it's not like I enjoy standing up and saying this," Kinzinger said on Fox News Sunday.

  • He added that the 74 million Americans who believe the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump do so "because their leaders have not told them otherwise. The people they trust have either been silent or not told them the truth."
  • "My party to this point has said things like it was hugs and kisses, it was ANTIFA and BLM — it was anything but what it was, which was a Trump-inspired insurrection on the Capitol and people deserve to hear the truth."

Of note: Kinzinger, one of 35 House Republicans to vote in favor of establishing a bipartisan commission into the events of Jan. 6, also addressed Republican hesitancy to pursue a full investigation out of fear of the political ramifications in the mid-term elections, noting that insurrection will play a role in the 2022 races "anyway."

  • "I think it'll go to 2022 and we’ll look like we're just sitting here denying reality and facts," Kinzinger said.
  • If the commission fails, he warned, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could run a "select committee" and drag the issue into 2024.

Go deeper: Backers of Adam Kinzinger launch group to boost his politics

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