“Right now it’s basically the Titanic. We’re ... in the middle of this slow sink,” he explained on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “We have a band playing on the deck telling everybody it’s fine. And, meanwhile, Donald Trump’s running around trying to find women’s clothing and get on the first lifeboat.
“I think there’s a few of us that are just saying, ‘Guys, this is not good’ — not just for the future of the party, but this is not good for the future of this country.”
Kinzinger pulled out the Titanic metaphor as he criticized party leaders’ attacks on Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for blasting Trump for his “big lie” that the presidential election was rigged and for inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“It’s incredible. Liz Cheney is saying exactly what [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy said the day of the insurrection,” holding Trump accountable for urging the violence, Kinzinger said. “A few weeks later, Kevin McCarthy changed to attacking other people.”
McCarthy was reportedly rebuffed by the former president on Jan. 6 when he implored Trump to call off the Capitol rioters. McCarthy said later on the House floor that Trump “bears responsibility for the attack on Congress by mob rioters.” Trump “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” he added. McCarthy called then for “justice” and for a “censure resolution” against Trump.
Kinzinger said the Republican Party still needs to have “an internal look and a full accounting as to what led to Jan. 6.” It’s been only four months since the “insurrection — something that was unthinkable in this country,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the message from the Republicans who want to get rid of Cheney is that it’s time to “move on,” Kinzinger said, adding that they refuse to admit the Capitol violence was “an insurrection led by the president of the United States.”
Kinzinger and Cheney were among 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the attack on the Capitol. Cheney faces a vote Wednesday by her colleagues, who may strip her of her leadership role as Republican Conference chair.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that the Republican Party’s own hidden internal polling data had shown weak numbers for Trump against Joe Biden in crucial voting districts. Despite those figures, and Trump’s clear defeat in the presidential election, party leaders are still staking their futures on him.