Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) called out members of his own party and President Donald Trump on Sunday for refusing to acknowledge that Trump lost the election, warning of potential violence if Republicans continue their “grifting scam” to challenge the results.
With a number of the president’s allies in the House and Senate signaling that they will disrupt Congress’ Jan. 6 certification of the Electoral College vote in a last-ditch effort to steal the election, Kinzinger took to Twitter over the weekend to chastise Trump and the “congressional grifters.”
“My God. Trying to burn the place down on the way out because you can’t handle losing. No evidence, nothing but your temper tantrum and crazy conspiracies. Embarrassing,” the Illinois congressman tweeted in response to Trump cheering on the effort.
Interviewing Kinzinger on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, guest host Dana Bash brought up the planned attempt to contest President-elect Joe Biden’s decisive victory, noting that Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence recently met with some of the Republicans behind the effort.
“I expect there will be a little chaos,” Kinzinger responded. “This is a scam, though.”
Pointing out that Team Trump’s court cases alleging the “election was stolen” did not have any legs, Kinzinger added that there is “no impetus to overthrow the election even if you wanted to” in Congress.
“All that is being done is certain members of Congress, the president, and ‘thought leaders’ on Twitter are getting retweets, getting followers, and raising money on this scam,” Kinzinger declared. “It is a scam and it is going to disappoint the people that believe this election was stolen, that think this is an opportunity to change it.”
The Illinois congressman went on to say that “instead of being disappointed in the people that led them on this grifting scam,” Trump supporters will eventually blame “RINOs in Congress” for preventing Trump from remaining in office rather than “the Constitution that prevents this from happening in the first place.”
Bringing up Trump's recent pardons of his corrupt associates and friends, such as Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, Bash added that “we have heard and seen a lot of crazy things” from the president in the past couple of weeks.
“We have seen and heard talk of declaring martial law, baseless allegations of a stolen election as you were just talking about, mixed signals over military funding, and COVID relief,” she continued. “But the president still has more time left in office. Are you actually worried about what he and people who support him still might do?”
While Kinzinger said he wasn’t sure he was “worried,” he was at least “concerned” with how the Jan. 6 gambit would play among the more unhinged part of Trump's base that believes in the dangerous conspiracy theory QAnon.
“If you convince people that, you know, Congress can change a legitimate election and everything was stolen, there is a deep state/QAnon theory driving this that Satanist pedophiles run the government,” he said. “You can see people being driven to violence, so I’m concerned about that.”
Kinzinger, who is also a lieutenant colonel is the Air National Guard, further stated that he was confident that the Pentagon would not implement martial law to redo the election, as former national security adviser Michael Flynn has suggested.
“The concern I have right now, and why I’ve been so outspoken, is I grew up as a Republican because I believe in smaller government and strong national defense and that is being destroyed by conspiracies right now. And anger,” he concluded. “And I really do worry about the future of my party.”