Kinzinger (copy)

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who began his six-term career in Congress from Manteno, announced Friday he would not be seeking a seventh term in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who began his six-term career in Congress from Manteno, may be on his way out of the Capitol, but he is far from finished delivering his message.

The Republican representative from Channahon, who announced Friday he would not be seeking a seventh term in Congress, was asked Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” if his retirement announcement handed former President Donald Trump a victory. Kinzinger said it “potentially” did before criticizing Republicans, who he accused of putting their heads in the sand.

Kinzinger has been a chief GOP critic of Trump’s. He has repeatedly slammed the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 takeover of the Capitol building by those opposed to President Joe Biden.

“It’s not really handing a win as much to Donald Trump as it is to the cancerous kind of lie and conspiracy not just wing anymore but mainstream argument of the Republican Party,” he said to “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos in a published report.

“This is not on ... the 10 of us that voted to impeach. It’s on [Rep.] Liz Cheney [R-Wyo.] and I to save the Republican Party. It’s on 190 Republicans who haven’t said a word about it, and they put their head in the sand and hope somebody else comes along and does something,” he said.

Trump was pleased with Kinzinger’s announcement. The former president sent out a statement that read: “Two down, eight to go,” in reference to Kinzinger’s and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, a Republican from Ohio, both of whom have announced they will not seek re-election in 2022.

Both Kinzinger and Gonzalez voted for Trump’s impeachment in January.

“You can fight against the cancer in the Republican Party of lies, of conspiracy, of dishonesty, and you ultimately come to the realization that basically it’s me, Liz Cheney and a few others that are telling the truth, and there are about 190 people in the Republican Party that aren’t going to say a word, and there’s a leader of the Republican caucus that is embracing Donald Trump with all he can,” he said Sunday.

In a short video released Friday announcing his intention to step away from Congress, Kinzinger described the country as being in a “perilous time.”

In his release, he noted the scope of division, not only in Washington, D.C., but across the nation as well.

“I cannot focus on both a re-election to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” the 43-year-old Kinzinger said.

Kinzinger was first elected in 2011 to the federal House’s 11th District, which included Kankakee County. After that two-year term, he relocated to the 16th House District, which includes Iroquois, Livingston, Boone, LaSalle and a handful of other counties, as well as portions of Will, Ford and DeKalb counties, as well as a few others.

Lee Provost, an award-winning reporter, has been writing local news stories for The Daily Journal since 1988. He is a lifelong resident of the region. Provost can be reached at lprovost@daily-journal.com.