Kinzinger: I Was Ready to Shoot Capitol Rioters

GOP congressman was 'prepared to defend against my own party' on Jan. 6 as he hid in office
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2021 7:37 AM CST
Kinzinger: I Was Ready to Shoot Capitol Rioters
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks to the media at the Capitol on May 12, 2021, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, File)

Adam Kinzinger was at the US Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, and in a new interview with Rolling Stone, he reveals what was going through his head that day as he "hunkered down" in his office, hiding from the rioters. The 43-year-old Congressman from Illinois says he'd warned Kevin McCarthy on Jan. 5 that he feared there'd be violence as Congress convened to certify the 2020 election results, but that the GOP House minority leader was "very dismissive" of his concerns. Kinzinger adds that when former President Trump told supporters listening to his speech on Jan. 6, "I'm going to go with you to the Capitol," Kinzinger thought, "Man, this is bad."

He wasn't wrong: Kinzinger says he was forced to hide out in his office for about six hours, his firearm on the ready, "prepared to defend against my own party." Asked by interviewer SE Cupp if he'd been frightened, Kinzinger notes he'd felt a "real sense of evil" and a "real darkness" as he hid out, "like a thick, bad feeling," especially as he'd seen threats made against him personally earlier that day on Twitter. "If this is as bad as it seems, they may end up at my office, breaking this crap down, and I may have to do what I can," he says.

When asked by Cupp if that meant he would've fired his gun at anyone who breached his office, Kinzinger replies, "Yeah, I thought about it." He then elaborates: "If you're already at a point where you're beating down police officers, and you're willing to sack the US Capitol, which hadn't been done in hundreds of years, if you come face to face with Chief RINO in his office, who doesn't believe that Donald Trump won reelection, yeah, they're going to try to fight and kill me, and I'm not going to let that happen."

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The Hill notes Kinzinger, a vocal Trump critic, is one of just a handful of Republicans in Congress who voted to impeach the former president, and just one of two GOPers on the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack, along with Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney. That has made him "persona non grata" with his party, he tells Cupp, and he's not running for reelection in 2022. He's not ruling out a future bid for senator, governor, or perhaps even a higher office, however, though he's not sure what future the GOP itself has. "I think in the short term, stoking division ... will win the midterms in 2022," he says of his party. "In the long term, this will destroy the GOP. Or it will destroy the country, because this is an unsustainable path." More here. (Read more Rep. Adam Kinzinger stories.)

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