Republican Adam Kinzinger Describes GOP as 'Unrecognizable,' Says Trump 'Basically Insane'

Representative Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, described the modern-day GOP as "unrecognizable" and said that its current leader—former President Donald Trump—is "basically insane."

Kinzinger has become one of Trump's harshest critics in the wake of the 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021 attack targeting the U.S. Capitol. Although the GOP congressman said he voted for Trump in 2020, he has repeatedly slammed the ex-president for spreading lies about the election results and inciting his supporters to carry out the assault against the legislative branch of government just over a year ago.

During a Friday afternoon interview with MSNBC, Kinzinger was asked if he recognizes his political party a year after the violence of the pro-Trump attack on the Capitol.

"No, I don't," he responded. The Republican lawmaker said he's identified with the GOP since he was six years old. "What has changed is the use of conspiracy, the absolute lack of courage to call it out, the fear that permeates leaders of the Republican Party against a man [Trump] that is basically insane," he said.

Adam Kinzinger
Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) said Friday the GOP has become "unrecognizable" in the past year. Above, he questions witnesses during the House select committee investigation of the January 6, 2021 attack against the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021. ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

"You know, sending out press releases from Mar-a-Lago," Kinzinger continued. "It's unrecognizable, and it's sad because the Republican Party will exist, and it's a major political party in the United States. We need conservative voices out there as well."

The GOP congressman lamented that his party has "lost, in lot of people's minds, any credibility." Kinzinger said it will take "a lot of time to get it back."

Kinzinger was one of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump—along with House Democrats—for inciting his supporters to attack the Capitol. The violent mob carried out the assault after Trump at a nearby rally told them to march to the legislative building and "fight like hell" to save their country. They were largely animated by his claims that the 2020 election was "stolen" in favor of President Joe Biden.

Although Trump and many of his allies continue to promote the claims, no evidence has emerged substantiating them. In fact, dozens of election challenge lawsuits filed by the former president and his supporters failed in state and federal courts. Even judges Trump appointed ruled against the legal challenges.

Audits and recounts across the nation—including in states where pro-Trump Republicans oversaw the election and further reviews—reaffirmed Biden's victory. Meanwhile, former Trump administration officials and prominent Republicans who supported him have explained that there is "no evidence" to support the groundless claims of widespread voter fraud leading to his loss.

Despite this, polling data has repeatedly shown the claims resonating with most GOP voters. Meanwhile, the majority of Republican lawmakers in Congress have given credence to the claims or declined to call them out as baseless.

Kinzinger, along with GOP Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, is one of two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack. Cheney, like Kinzinger, has consistently condemned Trump and fellow Republicans who continue to support him. While Kinzinger has decided not to seek re-election, Cheney is facing a Trump-endorsed primary challenger ahead of the 2022 midterms.

As the nation commemorated the one-year anniversary of January 6 this week, tensions within the Republican Party over the attack were on full display in the widely varying statements shared by GOP lawmakers. While some—such as Kinzinger and Cheney—condemned Trump and the violence of that day, others defended the former president and attacked Democrats for focusing attention on the events of a year ago. Many GOP lawmakers didn't say anything, while others condemned the violence but did not mention the connection to Trump.

Trump again pushed the conspiracy theory that the election was "rigged" in favor of Biden, releasing a series of statements on Thursday. In an interview with right-wing network OAN this week, he complained that the media hasn't talked enough about the large crowd size at the rally he spoke at ahead of the attack.

"Nobody ever shows the pictures of that," he lamented.

Newsweek reached out to Trump's press office for comment.