The news on Sunday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will appoint Representative Adam Kinzinger as the second Republican representative on the special House committee to investigate the January 6 insurgency on the United States Capitol again highlights the Illinois congressman in the national spotlight.
Kinzinger grabbed headlines earlier this year as one of the top 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach President Trump for his role in inciting the deadly attack on Capitol Hill by right-wing extremists and other determined Trump supporters disrupting Congress’ certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory.
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But Kinzinger, one of Trump’s best-known Republican critics on Capitol Hill, has been in the headlines for more than a decade.
Kinzinger joined the Air Force after the September 11 terrorist attacks, serving in both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is currently a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. At 32, he was first elected to Congress in the 2010 Tea Party election wave, beating an incumbent Democratic candidate by nearly 15 points in a district in north-central and northeastern India. Illinois, in part thanks to the endorsement of Sarah Palin. Two years later, after the redistribution, he defeated GOP Rep. Don Manzullo in the primary before winning the general election.
Although he has received praise from Democrats for his anti-Trump language, Kinzinger is nowhere near aligning with Democrat policies. He has long opposed the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, opposed tax increases and campaigned against the right to abortion.
Kinzinger was never a Trump loyalist, but the attack on Capitol Hill amplified his opposition to the then president.
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The storming of Capitol Hill came shortly after Trump urged a large crowd of supporters he addressed at a rally near the White House to march towards the Capitol and demonstrate force to protest against the certification of the election.
The then president was removed by the House a week later for inciting insurgency. Ten Republicans – including Kinzinger – joined the 222 Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, with 197 Republicans voting against impeachment. In February, after leaving the White House, Trump was acquitted in a Senate trial, with 7 GOP senators joining the 50 House Democrats to vote to convict the former president.
In an interview with Fox News earlier this year, Kinzinger lamented that “today’s Republican Party is not who I joined.”
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“The party that has always talked about a better future no longer does it. Rather, it talks about a bleak future. Hope has given way to fear. Outrage has replaced opportunity. And worse, our deepest beliefs are being ignored. They have been replaced by poisonous plots and lies. This is not the Republican way and now we know exactly where a dangerous new road is leading. It is leading to insurgency and an armed attack on it. the Capitol ”, he maintained.
Trump reshaped the Republican Party during his four years in the White House and ruled it with an iron fist. And six months into his presidency, Trump’s influence over the GOP has not waned.
Kinzinger stressed that “Republicans have to say enough is enough. It’s time to unplug the contempt machine, reject personality politics and put conspiracy theories and rage aside.”
“The future of the GOP is at stake,” he said. “Let’s resume our party.”
Kinzinger, now 43, who was easily re-elected last November, faces half a dozen main challenges, including one from a Republican who named his campaign committee “Impeach Adam Kinzinger 2022”.
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But Kinzinger’s stance against Trump has boosted his fundraising. His re-election campaign grossed nearly $ 2 million in the first half of this year, and he has over $ 3 million in cash. And the Country First Leadership PAC, which he formed earlier this year to support other anti-Trump Republicans, is also making a lot of money.
Kinzinger will join Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming as two Republicans on the panel investigating the insurgency. Cheney, the most prominent House Republican to vote to impeach the then president, was stripped of her GOP leadership position in the House in the spring for her anti-Trump sentiments.
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