“I do think Kevin has failed to tell the truth,” Kinzinger said Sunday in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
Kinzinger was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted in January to impeach then-President Trump of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right wing extremists aiming to disrupt congressional certification of now-President Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump. And the conservative lawmaker first elected to Congress in the 2010 Tea Party wave was one of 35 House Republicans who last week bucked party leadership and voted in favor of a Jan. 6 commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol.
McCarthy last week announced his opposition the formation of the commission and worked with House GOP leadership to limit the number of defections when the full chamber voted on the matter on Wednesday. While 35 Republicans supported the inquiry, the vast majority of the 212 member GOP conference opposed the move.
Kinzinger charged that McCarthy’s “failed to tell the truth to the Republicans and to the American people and it pains me to say and it’s not like I enjoy standing up and saying this.”
He noted that a sizeable amount of the 74 million people who voted for Trump “believe the election was stolen, believe it because their leaders have not told them otherwise. The people they trust have either been silent or not told them the truth.”
The vocal critic of Trump pointed to McCarthy’s initial finger pointing at the then-president in the days after the storming of the Capitol, before the House GOP leader met with Trump in Florida soon after Biden’s inauguration.
Kinzinger argued “that’s where Kevin has failed because he told the truth on January 13th, something around then. And then he went to Mar-a-Lago and said Donald Trump’s the leader of the party. He’s right, Donald Trump is the leader of the party, but we need to tell people the truth.”
He also spotlighted that opposition by most congressional Republicans against the commission could adversely impact the GOP in the 2022 midterm elections, when the party aims to win back lost majorities in both the House and Senate.
“I think it’ll go to 2022 and we’ll look like we’re just sitting here denying reality and facts,” Kinzinger worried.
The former president’s vowed to back primary challenges against Kinzinger and the rest of the House and Senate Republicans who voted to impeach Trump and convict him in the Senate impeachment trial. And Kinzinger’s already facing a primary challenger.
But the Air Force veteran and current lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, who served two tours of duty in the Iraq war, saw his fundraising surge the first three months of this year as he faced Trump’s wrath.
Fox News confirmed on Sunday that former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan will headline a fundraiser for Kinzinger on Monday.