Adam Kinzinger Says He 'Would Love To' Move On From Trump, But He Is Still Leader Of GOP

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger speaks at a press conference.
Gettyimages | Kevin Dietsch
US Politics

In an interview with NBC on Sunday, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois discussed the current state of the Republican Party, which has struggled to find a way forward since former President Donald Trump's defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

Kinzinger has emerged as one of Trump's fiercest conservative critics. The Illinois lawmaker voted to impeach the president on a charge of inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government earlier this year and repeatedly condemned his rhetoric regarding alleged voting fraud in the 2020 election.

'Stolen' Election

As reported by The Hill, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked Kinzinger to explain why the Republican Party should not embrace Trump and his claims of a stolen election.

"Well it's two things. Number one, Trump set the table. He's the one that continually brings up a stolen election narrative," Kinzinger said.

'He's the one that has convinced, members of Congress, including what we saw a few days ago, to have a hearing on January 6 and claimed that this was nothing but a tourist group, or that it was hugs and kisses," he added.

GOP Leader

Kinzinger told Todd that Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives, has made it clear that Trump is still the leader of the Republican Party.

"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. You can't say he's the leader and then say we have to move on. I would love to move on, Chuck."

Cheney

GOP Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney speaks at a press conference.
Gettyimages | Drew Angerer

Kinzinger also discussed Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney's recent ouster. Much like Kinzinger, Cheney has criticized Trump for refusing to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election, which led to her removal as chair of the House GOP conference.

Cheney was replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who -- as Todd noted -- is seen a far more moderate lawmaker, given that she opposed some of the Trump administration's signature policies.

Kinzinger said that this shows "policy doesn't matter anymore," but "loyalty to Donald Trump" does.

Kinzinger's Warnings

As reported by USA Today, Kinzinger recently alleged that McCarthy ignored warnings from Republican lawmakers that the January 6 protests were likely to turn violent. 

The congressman also warned that continuing to feed into Trump's conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election could destroy the GOP.

McCarthy has repeatedly sided with the Trump wing of the party. He endorsed Cheney's ouster -- after initially expressing opposition to it -- and said this week that he is "excited" to have Stefanik in a leadership role.