- Rep. Kinzinger criticized Republicans who are giving contradictory opinions about Trump’s influence.
- “You can’t say he’s the leader and then say we have to move on,” he said.
- Kinzinger criticized GOP leader McCarthy for effectively handing over power to the former president.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Sunday criticized Republicans who have expressed a desire to move on from former President Donald Trump while also supporting him as an enduring force within the party.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kinzinger told host Chuck Todd that the party members couldn’t embrace the former president and his debunked election claims, which have continued beyond his one term in office.
“Trump set the table,” Kinzinger said. “He’s the one that continually brings up a stolen election narrative. He’s the one that has convinced, members of Congress, including what we saw a few days ago, to have a hearing on January 6th and claimed that this was nothing but a tourist group, or that it was hugs and kisses.”
—Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 16, 2021
Kinzinger then chided House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California for what he said is the Republican leader’s abdication of his duties.
“You cannot on the one hand say that Donald Trump is a leader or the leader of the Republican Party — which I believe he is the leader of the Republican Party right now because Kevin McCarthy gave him his leadership card,” he said. “You can’t say he’s the leader and then say we have to move on. I would love to move on.”
When asked about the more moderate voting record of newly installed House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, compared to that of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a conservative who was dumped from leadership for vocally challenging the former president, Kinzinger was less than enthralled by the lack of focus on ideas.
“I think what it means to say to any Republican that’s maybe kind of confused by the moment we’re in is policy doesn’t matter anymore,” he said. “It literally is all your loyalty to Donald Trump. As I’ve said before, this is something that like echoes a little bit out of North Korea where no matter what policy comes out, you’re loyal to the guy.”
Kinzinger, who was first elected to the House in 2010, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.