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Kinzinger says McCarthy dismissed warnings of violence ahead of Jan. 6, praises Cheney

Kinzinger said Cheney is being forced from her leadership position because her refusal to equivocate about Trump's election defeat makes GOP members "uncomfortable."
Image: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., at a hearing at the Capitol on Nov. 13, 2019.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., at a hearing at the Capitol on Nov. 13, 2019.Michael Brochstein / Sipa USA via AP file

WASHINGTON — Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Monday that he warned House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that the Republican Party was courting violence in the days preceding the Capitol riot and praised Rep. Liz Cheney for consistently telling the truth about former President Donald Trump.

Kinzinger, of Illinois, said House Republicans are moving this week to oust Cheney, of Wyoming, from her position as conference chair because her refusal to equivocate about Trump's election defeat has made it “uncomfortable” for their GOP colleagues.

“Liz is being chased out for one thing. Not for going after the president. ... She's been run out for one thing — her consistency. She said the same exact thing that Kevin McCarthy said on Jan. 6, which is Donald Trump is responsible” for the deadly riot, Kinzinger, an outspoken Trump critic, said in an interview hosted by the National Press Club.

He added: “If you want to hide because you don't want to tick off the base and tell the truth about Jan. 6, you don't want to have to admit that Joe Biden won an election, Cheney makes it uncomfortable for you, because when she's asked about it, she doesn't dance around. She just says the election wasn't stolen, Biden [is] president and Jan. 6 was a Trump-inspired insurrection.”

Earlier Monday, Kinzinger tweeted that he warned GOP leaders about potential violence on Jan. 6, the date set out for a joint session of Congress to tally electoral votes in a presidential election, a few days beforehand and he was dismissed. A pro-Trump mob, inspired by Trump's lies of a stolen election, assaulted the Capitol to disrupt that count formalizing Joe Biden's election win, leaving multiple people dead.

“A few days before Jan 6, our GOP members had a conference call. I told Kevin that his words and our party’s actions would lead to violence on January 6th. Kevin dismissively responded with “ok Adam, operator next question.” And we got violence,” he tweeted.

He said in the National Press Club interview that after the attack, he considered bringing a vote of no confidence against McCarthy himself.

“I actually thought the person that should have their leadership challenged was Kevin McCarthy after Jan. 6, because that's why this all happened,” said Kinzinger.

He said he briefly discussed the idea with some other members but decided not to pursue it.

After that, he said, members of the conservative Freedom Caucus then went on offense against Cheney, who was the highest-ranking Republican in the Democratic-controlled House to vote to impeach Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection.

His comments come days before House Republicans are expected to remove Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference on Wednesday. Rep. Elise Stefanik, of New York, is likely to replace Cheney, though that vote may not happen on Wednesday.

McCarthy publicly voiced support for Stefanik’s bid on Sunday.