Adam Kinzinger says Republicans will win in 2022 by 'stoking division,' but 'in the long term' it will 'destroy' the party

Adam Kinzinger says Republicans will win in 2022 by 'stoking division,' but 'in the long term' it will 'destroy' the party
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images
  • Kinzinger said that the GOP will win in 2022, but offers a bleak long-term outlook for the party.
  • While speaking with Rolling Stone, he said that the GOP "stoking division" will "destroy" the party.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger in a recent interview with Rolling Stone said that Republicans won't pay a short-term political price for enabling former President Donald Trump and his unsubstantiated election claims, but contends that by "stoking division," the party will destroy itself over time.

The Illinois Republican, who in the past year has emerged as one of the sharpest critics of Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, argued that it was "unsustainable" for the GOP to continue on its current path, despite his feelings that the party won't suffer electoral consequences next year.

"I think in the short term, there will be no price they will have to pay," he said of the party's enabling of the former president. "I think in the short term, stoking division, using the fear and darkness, will win the midterms in 2022."

"In the long term, this will destroy the GOP. Or it will destroy the country, because this is an unsustainable path," he added.

Kinzinger has announced he will not run for re-election in 2022, avoiding the increasing likelihood he'd have to run against a fellow Republican incumbent due to the state's redistricting.


He lamented that as Republicans map out the electoral landscape for 2022, they are choosing to eschew their ethics in the pursuit of power.

"The problem is, when you have a two-year election cycle, and you look at all these 'treasures' we're going to gain if we gain the majority, it's easy to put the moral reasons for not doing certain things aside. I mean, when the NRCC [National Republican Congressional Committee] puts out a test message to its current donors that opens with, 'You are a traitor!' you realize we have scraped the bottom of the barrel to fundraise. And it works, unfortunately," he told the magazine.

During the interview, the congressman was also asked if lawmakers like Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri or House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana truly believed the statements that they have made to the public about the 2020 presidential race and election integrity.

Hawley led the GOP effort in the Senate to contest the certification of President Joe Biden's electoral victory, and Scalise just last month avoided acknowledging the Democratic presidential win last year.

Kinzinger said many Republican lawmakers have raised doubts about election integrity and Biden's win to placate Trump and the conservative base that is still enamored with him.


"I think nobody believes what they're saying, with few exceptions. There's been a belief now that the ends justify the means, so we'll say whatever to get power, and the power will be the victory," he said.

"In self-governing ... the ends can't justify the means because you break real, basic trust. You and I can hate each other, but we have to agree that our vote counts," he added.