The Republican congressman whose district includes Iroquois County still says he supports President Donald Trump, but the Trump campaign is giving him the cold shoulder.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, was the only one of the five Republican congressmen from Illinois who was not named this week as an honorary co-chairman of the Trump re-election effort in 2020.
Kinzinger, who was born in Kankakee, has maintained a careful balancing act between backing the president and distancing himself from the president’s rhetoric.
A few days ago, he leveled some of his strongest criticism of the president after Trump quoted a pastor who suggested Trump’s removal from office could result in a civil war.
“I have visited nations ravaged by civil war,” Kinzinger tweeted. “I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”
In a story Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times said it learned Kinzinger’s “beyond repugnant” comment prompted the campaign’s decision.
According to the Sun-Times, Kinzinger shrugged off the campaign’s move, saying, “It’s fine.”
“I just don’t think it’s a decision probably the president made — probably his political operatives,” he said.
Kinzinger also is incurring the wrath of right-wing groups such as the Oath Keepers, a militia organization accused of supporting white supremacy.
Earlier this week, the Oath Keepers linked to a story about Kinzinger’s “beyond repugnant” quote.
“Trump’s real crime was winning the election. Period. All the rest is smoke and mirrors to justify reversing the election. And some in the GOP are in on it,” the group tweeted.
After the 2016 election, Kinzinger said he did not vote for Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton but would not say who received his support. Before the election, Kinzinger accused Trump of childish tweets and rhetoric.
Earlier this year, when Trump said four congresswomen of color should “go back” where they came from, Kinzinger took to social media to blast the president.
“What the President tweeted this weekend was wrong and does nothing but further divide us,” Kinzinger said.
In 2017, he condemned Trump for saying that “both sides” were to blame at a deadly protest in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman protesting white supremacy was killed by supremacists.
“In this moment, we need bravery, we need leadership, and we need a president who unites the people of this country,” Kinzinger said in a statement at the time. “Instead, with his remarks this week, President Donald Trump has furthered the divide and downplayed the morally repugnant hate on display this past weekend.”
A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.