Kinzinger launches 'Country First' effort to take on Trump loyalists in GOP
Saying the GOP has lost its way and must turn back from the edge of darkness, Republican Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger said Sunday he is launching a new political movement to take on elements loyal to former President Donald Trump and "take back our party."
Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching Trump, revealed his "Country First" political action committee in a 6-minute video released Sunday.
In it, the Channahon resident says the Republican Party he signed up for spoke of a brighter tomorrow. Today's GOP talks about a dark future, he said.
"Hope has given way to fear. Outrage has replaced opportunity," he said. "Worst of all, our deep convictions are ignored. They've been replaced by poisonous conspiracies and lies."
Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" later Sunday, Kinzinger said he's received backlash from former supporters for his harsh criticism of Trump, especially since the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, and his impeachment vote.
"But the reality is this, this is a time to choose," he said. "It's a time to choose what we're going to be. And my goal in launching Country1st.com is just to say, look, let's take a look at the last four years, how far we have come in a bad way. How backwards looking we are, how much we peddle darkness and division."
That division, he said, led directly to the attack on the Capitol, which left a police officer and four others dead.
"It's the sort of thing that happens in a failed nation or a banana republic, not the greatest nation the world has ever known," Kinzinger says in the video.
On "Meet the Press," Kinzinger was critical of GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy, who flew to Florida last week to meet with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. He said it's time to push back and say, "This is not a Trump-first party, this is a country-first party."
Kinzinger wasn't clear on how his Country First will push back, describing it for now as a "landing place" for Republicans who share his outlook.
"I think the Republican Party has lost its moral authority in a lot of areas," he said. "It doesn't mean we don't need to fight back, you know, to defend what we believe, conservative principles. But when I ask people now what is a conservative principle, how many people think that conservative principles are things like just build the wall and, you know, charge the Capitol and have an insurrection?
"That's what Country1st is all about -just going back to saying, 'Here's what conservative principles are.'"