father figure

Adam Kinzinger spills on what made Lindsey Graham become Donald Trump’s lapdog

Former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who fell foul of many within the Republican Party for his participation on the select January 6 House Committee, has been speaking out against some of his GOP colleagues.

The Atlantic posted the transcript of a conversation Kinzinger gave to its editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg. Their chat took place at a public conference held last month by Karsh Institute.

Kinzinger was asked which lawmakers disappointed him the most. He highlighted two: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and former speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Graham famously spoke out against Trump becoming the Republican nominee in 2016. However, once Trump won the nomination, and later the White House, Graham became something of a lapdog to him.

“To watch him so closely adopt and closely support Donald Trump, when Trump was doing exactly what Graham was preaching against just prior to Trump’s arrival on the scene, was a
pretty disappointing moment,” Kinzinger said.

He went on to suggest Graham may not have performed his political about-face if Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) remained alive.

“I think Lindsey Graham needs a strong person to mentor him or carry him, and it was John McCain. And when John McCain passed, the next guy, the strongman that Lindsey Graham was drawn to, was Donald Trump.”

Graham’s changing opinion on Trump

Graham changing his tune over Donald Trump was extraordinary, even in the backstabbing world of politics. In 2015, Graham told CNN, “You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell. He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot. He doesn’t represent my party. He doesn’t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for.”

In May 2016, Graham famously tweeted, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.”

Kevin McCarthy

On the topic of Kevin McCarthy, Adam Kinzinger was even more scathing.

“One of the ones I’m most disappointed in generally is Kevin McCarthy, because I always thought that McCarthy had some version of a political soul. And I’ve come to realize that to him it was all about just the attainment of power,” Kinzinger said.

He also said he partly blamed McCarthy for Trump rebounding after January 6th. The Rep. and former President posed for a photo together at Mar-A-Lago shortly afterward.

“Then that picture happened in Mar-a-Lago, and all of a sudden we went from considering doing a vote of no confidence against Kevin McCarthy because of his role in January 6 to a point where everybody turned against me, [former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)], and the others that voted to impeach, all because of that picture,” he said.

Kinzinger chose not to run for re-election in Illinois in 2022. He has spoken out about receiving death threats in the wake of his involvement with the January 6 committee.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN on Monday, to promote his new book, Renegade, Kinzinger revealed that despite being a Republican, he would vote for Joe Biden in 2024 if Trump was the Republican nominee.

He also said that members of his own family had turned against him following his committee role.

“So, I had family that sent a certified letter disowning me,” Kinzinger said. “They said I’ve lost the trust of great men like Sean Hannity, which is funny, but they believe that. They said I was a member of the devil’s army.”

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