The Slatest

GOP Rep. Kinzinger Launches New PAC to Move Republican Party Away From Trump

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-IL, questions witnesses during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on September 16, 2020.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-IL, questions witnesses during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on September 16, 2020. KEVIN DIETSCH/Getty Images

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote in favor of impeaching Donald Trump, has launched a political action committee to challenge the former president’s continuing influence on the Republican Party. Kinzinger talked about the new Country First PAC in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press as well as a campaign-style video posted online. “This is not a Trump-first party. This is a country-first party,” Kinzinger said. “This is a time to choose.”

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In the video, Kinzinger said there is a direct relationship between the “poisonous conspiracies and lies” that the Republican Party has embraced with the riot on the Capitol earlier this month. “The Republican Party has lost its way,” the Illinois congressman says in the video. “Republicans must say enough is enough. It’s time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality, and cast aside the conspiracy theories and the rage.” With the PAC, Kinzinger wants Republicans to take a step back. “Let’s take a look at the last four years, how far we have come in a bad way,” he said on Meet the Press. “How backward-looking we are, how much we peddle darkness and division. And that’s not the party I ever signed up for. And I think most Republicans didn’t sign up for that.”

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During the interview, Kinzinger also described the blowback he has suffered for voting to impeach Trump. “Look it’s really difficult. I mean, all of a sudden imagine everybody that supported you, or so it seems that way, your friends, your family, has turned against you. They think you’re selling out,” he said. “I’ve gotten a letter, a certified letter, twice from the same people, disowning me and claiming I’m possessed by the devil.” Kinzinger said that while he was optimistic that Republicans appeared ready to turn the page after the riot, it seems that was short-lived. “I was disappointed over the last few weeks to see what seemed like the Republican Party waking up and then kind of falling asleep again and saying, ‘Well, you know, what matters if we can win in two years and we don’t want to tick off the base,’” Kinzinger said.

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