GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says most Republicans in Congress privately don’t believe Trump’s election-fraud claims but repeat them in public anyway

Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Ting Shen/Pool via AP
  • Kinzinger is considered a GOP pariah for speaking against Trump and sitting on the Jan. 6 commission.
  • But he told CNN most congressional Republicans don’t really believe Trump’s election-fraud claims.
  • He also said “a lot” of his GOP colleagues had privately praised his work on the Jan. 6 panel.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois has said that most congressional Republicans do not actually believe Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, but support those views in public anyway.

Kinzinger made the comments on CNN on Wednesday, the day after the opening day of the House of Representatives committee investigation into the Capitol riot, on which Kinzinger is one of the two Republicans serving.

His discussion with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer turned to the unfounded election-fraud claims pushed by Trump, which ultimately incited his supporters to attack the Capitol.

Kinzinger said that not many Republicans in Congress who were outwardly loyal to Trump believe those claims to be true.

“Save one or two maybe out here, nobody – and I think it’s very important to repeat – nobody actually believes the election was stolen from Donald Trump but a lot of them are happy to go out and say it was,” Kinzinger said.

Kinzinger has faced attacks from Trump loyalists in his party for accepting an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to sit on the panel.

Blitzer asked him if any party colleagues had privately expressed their support for his decision to take part.

“Yes, oh yeah, yeah,” Kinzinger responded. “There’s a lot of people, you know. And they come up and say it. It’s not any of the ones that go on TV and spout the big lie and then say it. It’s the ones that are staying more quiet that I think appreciate the stand. But it’s a lot.”

The “big lie” is the name that Trump critics give his claim that the election was stolen from him.

Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney, the other Republican serving on the committee, have become pariahs in their party over their stance against Trump in the wake of the Capitol riot.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had originally selected five Republicans to take part in the January 6 commission, but when Pelosi barred two of them over their role pushing Trump’s election-fraud claims and other disinformation about the insurrection, McCarthy withdrew all of his nominations.

Republicans have offered a range of arguments for opposing the formation of a special committee to investigate the riot, claiming that it was a partisan bid to damage the GOP and that the anti-racism protests last summer should receive as much attention.

Despite scathing criticism of Trump from some Republican leaders in the wake of the riot – in which lawmakers had to be evacuated to safety – many have since softened their stance.

In May, Republican senators blocked plans for an independent commission to be formed to investigate the riot. Some congressional Republicans have also echoed Trump and sought to downplay the violence on January 6, in which hundreds of police officers were injured and rioters called for Trump opponents in Congress to be executed.

In February, multiple reports said that some congressional Republicans had voted against Trump’s second impeachment for his role in inciting the riot because they feared potential backlash from the Republican base.

Kinzinger has consistently urged the GOP to denounce the conspiracy theories that have spread among Republican voters.