Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post that ran on Monday night, urging his Senate colleagues to convict former President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial over his provocation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Kinzinger blasted the assertion made by Trump’s defense lawyers in a brief filed Monday that the impeachment effort by House Democrats was “political theater” by warning Senate colleagues that failing to convict the former president could have dangerous consequences down the road.
“This isn’t a waste of time. It’s a matter of accountability. If the GOP doesn’t take a stand, the chaos of the past few months, and the past four years, could quickly return,” Kinzinger wrote. “The future of our party and our country depends on confronting what happened — so it doesn’t happen again.”
Kinzinger became one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach the former president during a House vote last month and has since been outspoken about a need for Republicans to reckon with their role in advancing conspiracy theories aimed at undermining President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in the 2020 presidential race.
The Illinois lawmaker who previously told the Washington Post in an interview that he was prepared to lose his political career amid growing isolation in his party for his convictions, said in the Monday opinion piece that Trump’s actions ahead of the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol were cause for his impeachment, but were also rooted in “four-plus years of anger, outrage and outright lies.”
“Perhaps the most dangerous lie — or at least the most recent — was that the election was stolen. Of course it wasn’t, but a huge number of Republican leaders encouraged the belief that it was. Every time that lie was repeated, the riots of Jan. 6 became more likely,” Kizinger said.
Kinzinger’s appeal to make accountability the focus of the trial comes as a majority of Senate Republicans try to shrug any responsibility for perpetuating the former president’s falsehoods.
“Even now, many Republicans refuse to admit what happened,” Kizinger wrote.
They continue to feed anger and resentment among the people. On Jan. 6, that fury led to the murder of a Capitol Police officer and the deaths of four other Americans.”
In Kinzinger’s view, the Senate trial to impeach Trump and potentially bar him from ever holding office again “offers a chance to say enough is enough.”
While reflecting on a shift in the GOP that has veered dangerously onto an antidemocratic path Kinzinger cautioned that “the further down this road we go, the closer we come to the end of America as we know it.”
“We’ll never move forward by ignoring what happened or refusing to hold accountable those responsible,” Kinzinger wrote. “The better path is to learn the lessons of the recent past. Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road.”