GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger rejects Pence likening Trump to Ronald Reagan, says there’s ‘no comparison’ between the two

Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday rejected former Vice President Mike Pence’s comparison of former President Donald Trump to the late President Ronald Reagan, a Republican icon.

During a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Pence praised the 40th president, who served from 1981 to 1989, as a “one of a kind” and a “disruptor.”

Pence then linked Reagan’s legacy to that of Trump.

“President Donald Trump is also one of a kind,” the former vice president said. “He too disrupted the status quo. He challenged the establishment. He invigorated our movement, and he set a bold new course for America in the 21st century. And now, as then, there is no going back.”

He added: “Under President Trump’s leadership we were able to achieve things Republicans have been talking about since the days of Barry Goldwater.”

Goldwater, the late Arizona senator, was the 1964 Republican presidential nominee and lost in a landslide to then-President Lyndon B. Johnson in the general election.

When Kinzinger, who voted to impeach the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, got wind of Pence’s comments, he was unforgiving in his assessment.

“Reagan inspired. Trump destroyed. No comparison,” he wrote on Twitter. “I am still amazed at these people that are so deferential to the weakest man I ever met.”

-Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) June 25, 2021

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Kinzinger has been highly critical of Trump and the Republican leadership in recent months, even drawing the ire of several family members who have accused him of “treason” for defying the former president.

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” last month, Kinzinger blasted Trump once again, telling host Chris Wallace that Republican voters have “had their patriotism abused by somebody that simply wants to use it to maintain power.”

Reagan, who was an actor and a two-term governor of California before becoming president, has been regularly hailed as an arbiter of modern conservatism.

In the 1980 presidential election, Reagan handily defeated then-President Jimmy Carter, and his 1984 reelection bid against former Vice President Walter Mondale saw him capture 49 out of 50 states. (Reagan narrowly lost Minnesota, which was Mondale’s home state.)

Pence also took time in his speech to defend his role in certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, expressing that he would “always be proud” of his actions as vice president.

For weeks, Trump tried earnestly to get Pence to reject the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory, to avail.

“The Constitution affords the vice president no authority to reject or return electoral votes submitted to the Congress by the states,” Pence said. “The truth is there is almost no idea more un-American than the idea that one person could choose the president. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.”

He added: “I will always be proud that we did our part on that tragic day to reconvene the Congress and fulfilled our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”