| USA TODAY
Trump push to overturn election loss fractures GOP
US President Donald Trump is deepening fractures in the Republican party as he pressures lawmakers to pick a side in his ongoing attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral wins in battleground states like Georgia. (Jan. 4)
After the second impeachment and acquittal of former President Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s loyalty to the former president appears largely unshaken.
And the intensity of Trump’s hold on the conservative base has made life difficult for those in the party who see his behavior as toxic and incompetent. Few GOP lawmakers know this better than Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who has been censured by not only the local party but also his church and family.
“Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!” a letter to Kinzinger by 11 members of his family reads. “You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name!” said the message, written two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
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Kinzinger, for his part, is unfazed by the condemnations from his relatives, who he says suffer from “brainwashing” from conservative churches. “I hold nothing against them,” Kinzinger told the New York Times.
“But I have zero desire or feel the need to reach out and repair that. That is 100 percent on them to reach and repair, and quite honestly, I don’t care if they do or not,” the six-term congressman continued.
Kinzinger, a conservative evangelical Christian, has fretted that Christianity’s reputation during the Trump era worsened, telling the Atlantic, “Boy, I think we have lost a lot of moral authority.”
Kinzinger was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for his role in inciting a mob into ransacking the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Prior, Kinzinger had called Trump “unfit” and “unwell,” urging the use of the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
Kinzinger also voted to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., of her committee assignments after comments Greene made advocating for the murder of high-profile Democrats resurfaced. Greene showed “no remorse” for her comments, according to Kinzinger.
The Illinois Republican’s frequent comments breaking with Trump have angered many of his constituents and cost him censure votes from local party affiliates in his home district.
“Central and Northern Illinois deserve an explanation and deserve my full attention,” Kinzinger told the Times. “But to the extent I can, I will also focus on the national message because I can turn every heart in central and northern Illinois, and it wouldn’t make a dent on the whole party.”
Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran who served in combat roles in Iraq and Afghanistan, was elected to the House of Representatives in the 2010 Republican wave as a Tea Party conservative. He has since become disgruntled with the party’s lack of direction, especially under Trump.
“We just fear,” Kinzinger again told the Times. “Fear the Democrats. Fear the future. Fear everything. And it works for an election cycle or two. The problem is it does real damage to this democracy.”
“Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve sought to do the right thing for the good of the people I represent and for the country as a whole,” a statement from Kinzinger’s office released after Trump’s acquittal by the Senate reads.
“Make no mistake, the damage being done to the state of our republic and democratic values we hold dear is unacceptable. And the losses I’ll face pale in comparison to the stakes he,” he warned.