Trump 'Chaos' Will Return: GOP Lawmaker Adam Kinzinger Pens Op-Ed Urging Conviction

Illinois GOP Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a self-described "lifelong Republican," urged his party peers to convict former President Donald Trump as a historical precedent for "accountability."

Kinzinger said this week's impeachment trial in the Senate provides Congress and the American people with a chance to say "enough is enough" and to dissuade future presidents from inciting violence like that seen on January 6. Kinzinger said Trump stirred up "four-plus years of anger, outrage and outright lies" leading up to the U.S. Capitol riots and this "fury led to the murder of a Capitol Police officer and the deaths of four other Americans." Kinzinger blasted many fellow Republican Party members and ardent Trump supporters for calling the trial a "waste of time" in a Monday Washington Post opinion piece.

Kinzinger warned that the volatile situation in America transcends Republican or Democratic party affiliation and could "get much, much worse," leading to a future incident which simply "cannot be overcome."

"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. The future of our party and our country depends on confronting what happened — so it doesn't happen again," Kinzinger wrote, urging at least 17 Republicans to join Democrats in considering conviction of Trump.

"Even now, many Republicans refuse to admit what happened. They continue to feed anger and resentment among the people...If that rage is still building, where does it go from here?" he continued.

Trump won Kinzinger's 16th Congressional District in the Chicago area's western suburbs by a margin of 57 to 41 percent in the November 2020 election. Kinzinger himself won his general election, meaning his current term ends in January 2023.

The Illinois Republican lawmaker cited Winston Churchill's famous quote that "those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it" in urging Trump's supporters in the Senate to cease accusations of "political theater." Instead, Kinzinger said they must confront the events of January 6 - and the president's clear role in inciting such violence. Trump tweeted for weeks following the election that it was "stolen" by Joe Biden and Democrats, several times calling for "wild" protests at the Capitol on January 6.

"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," Kinzinger wrote.

The GOP congressman who first took office in 2013 said the Republican Party he joined as a young man is barely recognizable in the current, post-Trump era. "We stood for equal opportunity, firm in our conviction that a poor kid from the South Side of Chicago deserves the same shot as a privileged kid from Highland Park."

Newsweek reached out to Kinzinger's congressional office for additional remarks Tuesday afternoon.

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Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) Rep. Tom Graves (R-MO), and Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AK) look at various initials from Congressman past carved in a marble column in Statuary Hall which is the original House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol, October 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. The U.S. government shutdown is entering its ninth day as the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives remain gridlocked on funding the federal government. MARK WILSON / Staff/Getty Images