Since the horrifying events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois has been a consistent, if lonely, Republican voice speaking out against the big lie that the presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. After the sidelining of Representative Liz Cheney from leadership, Kinzinger, a 43-year-old Air Force veteran who was first elected to the House in 2010, was further entrenched as one of the most influential sitting Republican politicians willing to regularly and publicly denounce that dangerous fiction. Inhabiting that position is just about the last thing Kinzinger ever imagined his job would entail. “I made the decision early in my career that I would be willing to take a potentially career-ending vote,” says Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the attempted insurrection. “But I thought that vote would be for something like a Social Security reform bill. I never thought it would be for defending democracy.”
How does it feel to have your job these days? I could imagine there’s an even greater sense of purpose. I could also imagine it being demoralizing. You pretty much nailed it. The job has changed because there is so much mistrust. Both within the party and between parties. But yes, there is a sense of aggressive purpose. On the one hand, it’s important for me to do what I’m doing and to speak out. On the other hand, you look around since the election and not many more people have joined me in speaking out about the big lie, and that is a little discouraging.
The full interview and photo-shoot can be found on the New York Times Magazine website here.