Rep. Adam Kinzinger on investigating Jan. 6 and being a ‘Renegade’ in the GOP
The former Illinois congressman reflects on confronting the “fanaticism of the hardcore” of his own party. Kinzinger served on the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.
KINZINGER: It’s been life-changing in a number of ways. So, you know, my father’s cousins, I guess, basically sent me a letter disowning me at one point, which was…
GROSS: Wait, wait, wait, she said you served in Satan’s army when you joined the committee.
KINZINGER: Yep. That’s it. That’s it. I was a member of the devil’s army. But it said things like, you serve in the devil’s army, you’ve lost the trust of great men like Mark Levin and Sean Hannity. And it goes to show, to me, the brain rot – right? – the rot going on, the absolute abuse of people that put their trust in some of these – you know, these radio folks or these TV folks. I had – you know, a year ago, I had – my copilot in Iraq sent me a text that said he was ashamed to have ever served with me. I mean, I can’t imagine what goes through somebody’s head, how angry you have to be to wake up, for whatever reason, to send a person that you fought with in a war that you were embarrassed to have served with them.
I mean, that’s just some of it – having a 24-hour security detail when I’m in D.C., wondering if my family’s protected while they’re back in Illinois. I mean, these are a lot of the sacrifices. But – and a lot of the ways it changed. And now I’m obviously a much more public figure than I was even prior to that. But I have no regrets. If I had to go back in time, knowing everything I know now and how it would turn out, I would still do it.
GROSS: I don’t want to ask you anything that further threatens your security, so if this question does, let me know. But you got a lot of threats after joining the committee. You got voicemails saying things like, I hope you die quickly.