Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump, issued a warning over the weekend that the Republican Party is like the Titanic, saying that the party is in danger of a “slow sink” from national relevance if they continue to embrace the former leader.
During an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Kinzinger, who voted to impeach Trump earlier this year, blasted Republican plans to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post in the GOP House caucus.
“Right now, it’s basically like the Titanic. We’re like in the middle of this slow sink,” he said. “We have a band playing on the deck, telling everybody it’s fine, and meanwhile as I’ve said, Donald Trump is running around trying to find women’s clothing to get on the first lifeboat.”
Kinzinger, who represents Illinois’ 16th Congressional District, is one of 10 Republicans, including Cheney, who voted with Democrats to impeach the former president earlier this year. His decision on that vote, along with his pointed public criticisms of the former president, have led to backlash from party officials and even from his own family.
The GOP committees of several Illinois counties voted to censure Kinzinger over his impeachment vote, and Catalina Lauf has announced that she will challenge Kinzinger in the 16th District in next year’s primary election.
Members of the Congressman’s family publicly rebuked him for his criticism of the president, publishing a letter in the New York Times that called him a “disappointment….to God” and a “member of the devil’s army.”
Kinzinger has not backed down from his criticism of the president, nor has he toned down his commentary that continuing to support Trump could potentially have serious repercussions for the party moving forward.
Those critiques have only intensified during the current battle over whether to oust Cheney from her post as the No. 3 leader of the Republican caucus in the House. Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy has publicly endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik for the position, and says that a vote will occur this week on whether to replace Cheney in her role.
Cheney also voted to impeach the former president earlier this year, and has repeatedly criticized Trump’s actions in connection to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.
Kinzinger defended his colleague on CBS over the weekend, saying that the party’s unwillingness to “take the temporary licks” of distancing itself from Trump could prove to be detrimental to its long-term electoral prospects.
“You have this real battle right now in the party, this idea of ‘let’s put our differences aside and be unified,’” Kinzinger said of the decision to potentially remove Cheney from her post. “They’re going to get rid of Liz Cheney because they’d much rather pretend that the conspiracy is either real, or not confront it than to actually confront it and maybe have to take the temporary licks to save this party, and in the long term, this country.”