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The Hill: Kinzinger: ‘Donald Trump brought heaps of fear into the Republican Party’

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Washington, September 14, 2022 | comments

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Tuesday said former President Trump “brought heaps of fear” into the GOP as lawmakers worried disloyalty to their party leader could knock them out of favor.

“For some reason, somewhere, it all became about power, and it all became about fear. And Donald Trump brought heaps of fear into the Republican Party,” Kinzinger said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“For like a year or two, people thought maybe we could take down Donald Trump. When he kept surviving, this fear came through of like, ‘we have to do everything he wants, because he is invulnerable,’ and he very well may be invulnerable, but there are a lot of people that, with that fear, sold out their soul because they didn’t want to be kicked out of the tribe.” 

The Illinois congressman, one of just two Republicans on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, said his party “has gone crazy.”

Kinzinger ran down “the holier-than-thou folks” in Congress who put their loyalty to Trump ahead of their party’s practical values. 

“You know these people, the holier-than-thou folks that get elected to Congress that preach to you constantly about the Constitution, what’s in it, what isn’t in it, how this little nuance does abide by it or doesn’t abide by it. We all believe in the Constitution,” Kinzinger said.

“They’re the same people that have sold out their values because the — Donald Trump said to do so. They’re the same people that now consider conservatism to be that fealty to Donald Trump.”

Earlier this year, Kinzinger’s fellow Republican on the Jan. 6 committee Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said loyalty to Trump and loyalty to the Constitution were mutually exclusive and that the Republican party needs to choose one.

Kinzinger and Cheney have both come under fire from the former president and his supporters for breaking rank to criticize him.

Trump last year reveled in Kizinger’s announcement that he would not seek reelection in 2022.

Cheney recently lost her reelection bid to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman in Wyoming’s GOP primary, and said in her concession speech that she “could easily” have won her House seat again, but that she would have had to “enable [Trump’s] ongoing efforts to unravel our Democratic system.”

Kinzinger on MSNBC Tuesday appealed to his “Democratic friends,” saying he understands frustration and disappointment with conservatives and moderates, but that threats to democracy require a cooperative, collaborative approach in Congress. 

“We have all got to come together because, if you truly believe democracy is in threat — if you truly believe that — then we need uncomfortable alliances,” he added.

You can find the full article on The Hill website here.
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