GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger on Wednesday took aim at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ahead of the vote to oust Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership post, warning that the GOP would be remembered in history as a “once honorable party that was marred by lies.”
In a tweet thread, Kinzinger said McCarthy had made a “cynical play” in the weeks following his criticism of former president Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, deciding that he’d need the votes of Trump’s most ardent supporters to become speaker of the House should Republicans take back the chamber in 2022.
“On January 6th, Liz and Kevin McCarthy have just about the same speech, rightly casting blame at the former President for the violence,” Kinzinger wrote. “But Kevin wants to be speaker. He made the determination that if he appeased the Trump crowd, he could raise money and take the credit, when he was up for speaker.”
Kinzinger was referencing McCarthy’s comments following the attack on the Capitol in which a mob of Trump supporters breached the building in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. At the time, McCarthy said that “the president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” and said Trump must take responsibility to ensure that Biden could begin his term. But within weeks, McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump in person, and afterward touted a “united conservative movement.”
“Liz stayed consistent,” Kinzinger said in the tweet. “She didn’t look for opportunities to attack Jan 6, but as [House Republican Conference] chair she does press and is naturally asked about it. she responds truthfully. Kevin? He felt threatened, so instead of fighting for his job he went on offense against Liz.”
Kinzinger called the situation “shameful.”
House Republicans on Wednesday voted to remove Cheney from her leadership position over her continued criticism of Trump, specifically over his lies about the 2020 election. Cheney gave a fiery speech in her defense on Tuesday, arguing that American democracy is at risk if Trump’s continued campaign to convince Americans the election was stolen is tolerated.
Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, also has been a vocal critic of the former president, and spoke in Cheney’s defense after she was removed from her post Wednesday. Cheney and Kinzinger were among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the wake of the US Capitol attack.