As Trump returns to spotlight, Kinzinger attacks 'politics of fear'

  • U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Channahon Republican

    U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Channahon Republican

 
 
Updated 2/28/2021 4:04 PM

On the day former President Donald Trump returned to the public stage for the first time since he left office, one of his most outspoken Republican critics -- Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger -- released a new video urging viewers to "reject the politics of fear and division."

The three minute and 30 second video on Kinzinger's Country First PAC website never references Trump, or any political figure or party. It instead takes aim at unnamed leaders who, he says, stoke fear out of self-interest.

 

"Gone are the days of inspiration," Kinzinger says in the video. "Now they harness and amplify fear for their own selfish gain. Yet what's good for them is bad for the nation."

Entitled "No Fear," the video mixes inspirational music with patriotic images and clips from historic moments -- the fall of the Berlin Wall, the moon landing, the flag-raising at Iwo Jima and more -- along with occasional footage of adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

"Fear creates more fear and will lead to the conflict that will tear America apart," Kinzinger says in the video. "Enough is enough. I know America is better than this. You know America is better than this."

Kinzinger, of Channahon, also made the media rounds Sunday, appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" and on CNN to discuss Country First and the state of the Republican Party.

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Kinzinger, whose 16th District stretches from the far Northwest suburbs and the Rockford area to downstate Ford County, launched Country First this month to take on Trump loyalists and extremists in the GOP.

His anti-Trump stance has led to harsh pushback, both within Republican circles and his own family. Last week, Woodstock native and former Trump staffer Catalina Lauf announced she would challenge Kinzinger in the 2022 Republican primary.

Several Republican groups in Illinois -- both inside and outside the 16th District -- have censured Kinzinger for his vote to impeach Trump. The latest came Saturday when the Chicago Republican Central Committee censured Kinzinger for his impeachment vote and actions "injurious to Republican Party harmony and unity."

Kinzinger did not publicly respond to the Chicago group's vote, but previously has shrugged off similar measures from other organizations, including a censure last week from the Will County GOP.

"Maybe if the Will County GOP spent the same amount of time and energy helping local Republicans as they do with petty censure votes to go after those that vote their conscience, they might actually win a few races," Kinzinger said.

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