Former congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of only a handful of Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over the events of January 6, 2021, and one of only two GOP lawmakers to have served on the select committee investigating the same event, denounced Republicans for their hypocrisy in removing disgraced former congressman George Santos (R-New York) from office while still clinging to Trump.
In a missive he wrote on Substack earlier this month, Kinzinger compared the two former lawmakers, noting that a sizable portion of House Republicans who have recognized that Santos is unfit for office have refused to do so for the former president.
“A liar, fraud, money launderer, indicted, hanger on-er is expelled from Congress, while a liar, fraud, money launderer, indicted, hanger on-er is leading the GOP race for President,” Kinzinger wrote in the first paragraph of his post, which was entitled, “Santos Expelled for Being Donald Trump.”
“This conundrum is not a conundrum at all. In fact, it’s a feature of today’s GOP,” he said.
Kinzinger didn’t delve into details of Santos’s illegal actions, because, as he put it, “who cares” about the specifics. What actually mattered, he said, was that Santos “was following the Trump playbook” by engaging in corrupt acts, denying any wrongdoing, bragging about his actions and attacking Democrats and supposed RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).
As a result of that behavior, Santos was expelled from the House late last week, becoming only the sixth member of that chamber to be expelled in U.S. history. Kinzinger noted that credit was due to some Republicans for joining with Democrats to oust him, but condemned GOP leaders in the House who voted against Santos’s expulsion.
Yet, even though Trump engages in the same types of behavior that Santos did (if not worse), it works for him, Kinzinger said, offering a basic explanation as for why: The GOP is “a cult, focused on one man and devoid of any principles,” he wrote, adding that the GOP’s refusal to take action against Trump “is dangerous.”
Kinzinger emphasized the importance of placing public pressure on Republicans over the issue.
“GOP officials need to be asked, over and over, what the difference was between the two? Maybe that is why leadership voted against expelling Santos, to avoid those awkward questions. That isn’t leadership, it’s pure cowardice,” Kinzinger concluded.
Kinzinger left Congress after it became clear that winning another term would be near impossible due to a likely GOP primary challenge in 2022 against a pro-Trump opponent.
As one of only two GOP members of the January 6 Committee, Kinzinger helped to showcase evidence to the U.S. populace that demonstrated Trump’s role in the attack on the Capitol building by a mob of his loyalists. In an interview with CNN in December 2022 — one month before his departure from Congress — Kinzinger said he believed Trump was “guilty of a crime.”
“He knew what he did. We’ve made that clear. He knew what was happening prior to January 6,” he said at the time.
Trump’s illicit activities went beyond the Capitol breach, he added.
“He pressured the Justice Department officials to say, ‘Hey, just say the election was stolen and leave the rest to me.’ And then the Republicans all need to put the stamp of approval on it,” Kinzinger said in the same interview.
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