Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Thursday for not taking action against far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and said the GOP leader “needs to stand for truth.”
“Kevin needs to be very clear that he’s going to stand for truth in this party,” Kinzinger told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.” “He needs to stand for truth and he needs recognize this party, the future is not going down to Mar-a-Lago and being with Donald Trump.”
Kinzinger’s frustration with McCarthy’s handling of Greene comes amid continued fallout over the Republican congresswoman’s past incendiary comments and promotion of conspiracy theories, which Greene has refused to publicly apologize for. McCarthy met with Greene earlier this week and has punted on punishing her for those comments as Democrats move toward removing her from committees.
McCarthy on Wednesday called the push by Democrats to take away the congresswoman’s committee assignments a “partisan power grab.”
The House will vote Thursday on a measure to strip Greene of her committee assignments after they first attempted to pressure Republicans to strip the Georgia Republican of committee assignments on their own.
Kinzinger said he would vote to remove Greene of her committee assignments unless she denounces her views publicly and said he wished the vote “was something that we didn’t have to do because it would have been done by our side.”
“I intend to vote for it. The only thing that could change is if today she comes out and publicly shows you know that she has moved on, contriteness,” he said. “If she does that publicly today, you know, then I reserve the right to vote against the resolution on the floor.”
Kinzinger, who voted in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, also defended fellow Republican, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who kept her House GOP leadership position after the party conference voted Wednesday night not to remove her after her support for impeachment. Asked about reports that he “unleashed hell” on McCarthy for spending more time defending Greene than Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney during the meeting, Kinzinger wouldn’t go into details but said, “Was I disappointed in the level of defense of her? Absolutely.”
He also called the conference meeting “an embarrassment” and said Greene receiving a standing ovation during the meeting “was disappointing by factor of a thousand.”
“She stood up and kind of gave a bit of contriteness, but then it pivoted into, ‘they’re coming after you next’,” he said. “At least half the room didn’t of course stand up and applaud her. That’s something, I guess. But you know, to see people at the end of it just be all in on Marjorie Taylor Greene. Look, I get it. She’s a Republican in your mind and you want to defend her, but my goodness, look at what’s been said.”