A top House Republican says the GOP has gone ‘off the rails’ and risks becoming a ‘regional party’

Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Harry Hamburg/AP
  • GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger in a new CNN interview said the GOP was at risk of becoming “regional.”
  • Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald Trump.
  • He said the GOP had gone “off the rails” under Trump’s influence, and he’s trying to change that.
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Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois in a new interview with CNN said he was fighting to save his political party, adding that the GOP ran the risk of losing future elections if its culture didn’t change.

“If it doesn’t want to be changed, that’s a decision Republicans get to make. If that’s the case long term, I think we will lose elections and will be a regional party that won’t compete on the national stage,” Kinzinger said.

Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting a fatal insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, said the GOP had gone “off the rails.”

“I think part of saving the Republican Party is just being really clear about what the Republican Party has become,” he said. “We have such a great history.”

The Illinois Republican, an Air Force veteran who continues to serve with the Air National Guard, said his effort to save the GOP could be a “kamikaze mission.” Kinzinger has faced criticism from pro-Trump Republicans over his impeachment vote, which has also led to the emergence of a prospective primary challenger loyal to the former president.

Kinzinger has been an outspoken critic of Trump in an era when loyalty to the former president has effectively taken over as the central tenet of the Republican Party. The congressman’s family has accused him of “treason” for his opposition to Trump.

In a December interview with The Hill, Kinzinger said the Republican Party under Trump was “advocating for crap” he “never would have imagined.”

The House Republican is at the forefront of an effort to loosen Trump’s hold over the party, which has endured into his post-presidency. Kinzinger cited his time in the military as a large part of the reason that he was not afraid to publicly criticize Trump, despite the political consequences.

“Any time in the history of the party, there have been competing visions – except for now,” Kinzinger told CNN. “It’s just been Donald Trump’s vision, and nobody else has said anything else. We have a right and a responsibility to offer competing visions to Republicans.”

Kinzinger said he voted for Trump in 2020 but regretted it, pointing to the former president’s effort to overturn the election and the Capitol attack. “If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t vote for him,” he said.