Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the most prominent Republican critics of former President Donald Trump, announced his retirement from Congress on Friday.
Kinzinger, R-Ill., delivered the news in an announcement video, saying that he remembered “saying that if I ever thought it was time to move on from Congress, I would. And that time is now.” He praised those who stood for truth, but criticizing those who were elected to lead who have failed to do so.
“My disappointment in the leaders that don’t lead is huge,” Kinzinger said. “The battlefield must be broader and the truth needs to reach the American people across the whole country.”
Kinzinger denounced the tribalism that has taken over American politics, warning that it has become so powerful that it risks America’s ability to lead and overcome future obstacles.
“Our political parties only survive by appealing to the most motivated and the extreme elements within it,” Kinzinger said. “The price tag to power has skyrocketed. And fear and distrust has served as an effective strategy to meet that cost.”
Kinzinger was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump in January for allegedly inciting an attack on the Capitol as Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s victory. He and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., are the only Republicans serving on a select committee investigating the events of that day, and the panel has not ruled out subpoenaing Trump to testify before it.
“Dehumanizing each other has become the norm. We’ve taken it from social media to the streets,” Kinzinger said. “We’ve allowed leaders to reach power selling the false premise that strength comes from degrading others and dehumanizing those that look, act, or think differently than we do. As a country, we’ve fallen for those lies, and now we face a poisoned country filled with outrage blinding our ability to reach real strength.”
Kinzinger praised his nine Republican colleagues who joined him in impeaching Trump, and did not rule out a run for future office. He is expected to continue leading Country First, his political action committee, which he formed earlier in 2021 in a bid to lessen Trump’s grip on the GOP.
“I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” Kinzinger said. “I want to make it clear: This isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning.”
His announcement also came just hours after Democrats in the Illinois legislature released another congressional map for the next decade. They have complete control over the redistricting process and have weighed how heavily to gerrymander the state’s districts. The most recent map would have had Kinzinger facing off against fellow Republican Rep. Darin LaHood in one of just three GOP seats.
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