Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois is one of just ten Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the insurrectionist mob that attack the US Capitol on January 6. The lawmaker, who has been in Congress since 2013, tried to warn the GOP of the pernicious influence of the QAnon conspiracy theory, many months before Trump supporters stormed the building.
In response to his impeachment vote, Kinzinger has faced a wave of vitriol from the pro-Trump corners of his party. He’s been called a “RINO” — or “Republican In Name Only” — received death threats, and is almost certain to face a Trump-supporting primary challenger for his House seat in 2022.
But the backlash isn’t just among the public and other lawmakers. In a new interview with Insider opinion columnist Anthony Fisher, Kinzinger says members of his own family have turned on him due to his vote:
“My dad’s cousins sent me a petition — a certified letter — saying they disowned me because I’m in ‘the devil’s army’ now,” Kinzinger said in a phone conversation on Thursday. “It’s been crazy, when you have friends — that you thought were good friends that would love you no matter what — that don’t.”
In the interview, Kinzinger also talked about how he had a bad feeling there would be violence at the Capitol on January 6, so much so that he brought his gun to his office.
He also talked about the bond he shares with the other nine Republicans who voted to impeach, how he tries to convince Trump supporters that his vote was an act of conscience, and why he’s not the least bit worried about losing his seat in Congress.