Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on Sunday took aim at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for letting the downplaying of the deadly Capitol insurrection that former President Trump incited proliferate within the Republican Party.
During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Kinzinger was pressed on whether he views McCarthy’s opposition to the formation of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection is a conflict of interest, given the likelihood of the House minority leader being called by the commission to testify about his conversations with Trump on Jan. 6 and in the aftermath of the attack.
Both McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voiced their opposition last week to the formation of the Jan. 6 commission. In a 252-175 vote, 35 House Republicans joined Democrats in voting for a 9/11-style bipartisan commission to look into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Although the proposed commission would be evenly split between both parties, McConnell and McCarthy characterized the bill as partisan.
Kinzinger, who has emerged as a vocal critic of Trump and voted to impeach the former president for “incitement of insurrection,” replied that he does not believe it’s a conflict of interest.
“Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a conflict of interest because Kevin is the leader,” Kinzinger said. “There’s probably a lot of people that are going to be subject to being called in front of any investigation on this, even criminal investigation.”
Kinzinger said that McCarthy “failed to tell the truth” about the Capitol insurrection to Republicans and the public by refusing to push back at the big lie of a stolen election that Trump continues to espouse.
“And it pains me to say. It’s not like I enjoy standing up and saying this, but people, the 74 million voters that voted for Donald Trump, the belief — a number of them that believe the election was stolen believe it because their leaders have not told them otherwise. The people they trust have either been silent or not told them the truth.”
Kinzinger reiterated that McCarthy “failed,” citing the House minority leader’s initial condemnation for inciting the mob behind the Capitol attack, but later visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago to get back into the former president’s good graces.
“He’s right. Donald Trump is the leader of the party, but we need to tell people the truth,” Kinzinger said.
This is far from the first time Kinzinger expressed his dismay with McCarthy.
Earlier this month, Kinzinger revealed during a National Press Club event that in the wake of the January 6 attack, he floated the idea of holding a “no confidence” vote to his colleagues to boot McCarthy out of leadership.
Kinzinger recalled talking about it with a “close group” of his colleagues, who concluded that their feeling was “no, let’s move on, we’re gonna vote to impeach the President and we need to move on.”
“Alright, well I’m not gonna do it alone — I still believe Kevin should have his leadership challenged,” Kinzinger said he responded to the group. “And then everyone went on the offense against (Rep. Liz Cheney).”
Kinzinger went on to characterize Republicans’ move to oust Cheney as the No. 3 Republican over her refusal to bend to Trump’s election fraud falsehoods as a “brilliant strategic play” that got McCarthy out of potential hot water.
Watch Kinzinger’s remarks below:
Wallace asks @RepKinzinger about Min. Leader McCarthy opposing a panel when he may be called to testify:
"I wouldn't say it's a conflict of interest because Kevin is the leader … but I do think Kevin has failed to tell the truth to the Republicans and to the American people. pic.twitter.com/dGMnzQvNDr
— The Recount (@therecount) May 23, 2021