- GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney accepted invitations by Nancy Pelosi to join the House Select Committee investigating January 6.
- The move has prompted several fellow Republicans to call for Kinzinger and Cheney’s punishment by leadership.
- But Kinzinger told reporters on Tuesday that he will “defend democracy” no matter the consequences.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger is unbothered by the “petty” behavior of some of his fellow party members, he told reporters on Tuesday.
A growing number of GOP lawmakers want House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to punish Kinzinger and fellow Republican Rep. Liz Cheney for accepting Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation to join the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.
But amid the inter-party fighting, Kinzinger said he has only one priority in joining the contested committee: defending democracy.
“If people want to get petty, that’s fine,” Kinzinger said in response to a reporter question about calls among fellow Republicans that he be stripped of his committee assignments. “I think that reflects more on people than it does on the situation at hand.”
-Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) July 27, 2021
Emotions ran high for the Illinois lawmaker during the first hearing held by the select committee on Tuesday. Kinzinger choked up while praising the police officers who helped fight off the violent, pro-Trump mob.
Kinzinger and Cheney of Wyoming have emerged as mavericks in the Republican party since both were among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol attack earlier this year.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Kinzinger also criticized his fellow Republicans for their attempts to downplay the deadly riot and dismiss the investigation as a partisan farce.
“This is a historic moment and this is a democracy-defending moment,” Kinzinger said after the hearing. “No matter the consequences, me, and I know Liz, will stand and defend democracy.”
According to CNN, GOP efforts to seek punishment for Kinzinger and Cheney swelled to new levels over the weekend following Pelosi’s announcement that both Republicans would be joining the committee after the speaker rejected two of McCarthy’s picks, Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, prompting the leader to withdraw all five of his choices.
The most prominent calls for discipline have come from the party’s far-right Freedom Caucus, the outlet reported, but the feeling is starting to spread among more moderate members.
But removing the two dissenters from their committee assignments would likely be difficult for McCarthy, as Democrats currently control committee membership as the majority party in the House.
“All I have to say…is we had a big attack on January 6,” Kinzinger said. “We heard very emotional testimony today and that is what’s on the forefront of my mind.”