Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said on Sunday that he blamed House Minority Leader (R-Calif.) for what he called the “crazy elements” in Congress and for the reason former President Trump is “still a factor” in politics.
Kinzinger said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that if he had a one-on-one conversation with McCarthy, he would tell his fellow Republican that he was “disappointed” in his leadership.
Kinzinger said McCarthy had an opportunity to tell “the truth” to the American people as a leader in Congress, but he instead went to Mar-a-Lago a few weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and “resurrected” Trump’s relevance in politics.
“He is the reason Donald Trump is still a factor,” Kinzinger said. “He is the reason that some of the crazy elements of the House still exist.”
McCarthy reportedly begged Trump to call off the rioters during the Capitol attack, and audio from a phone call McCarthy made revealed that he criticized Trump in the aftermath the insurrection. But he soon after increased his ties to the former president, as did much of the Republican Party.
Kinzinger said he believes Trump would have been pushed out as leader of the GOP if McCarthy did not travel to Mar-a-Lago, adding that Congress removing Trump from office following his impeachment over his role in the riot would have been “huge.” He said Trump not being removed from office is on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Senate Republicans who failed to convict Trump following the House’s second impeachment of him.
But Kinzinger said the “second” that McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago, the GOP went from not knowing what it was going to do about Trump to “begrudgingly” defending him.
“Donald Trump should consider Kevin McCarthy his best friend because Donald Trump is alive today politically because of Kevin McCarthy,” he said.
Kinzinger said the GOP will not be the future of the country unless changes are made. He said a successful country in 20 years from now will not be based on what “radicals” like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) want.
“The only way this country can succeed is if we learn to work together,” he said.