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Adam Kinzinger Once More Throws GOP Under the Bus in Farewell Speech

Ting Shen/Pool via AP

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) gave his farewell speech on the House floor. After serving since 2011, he decided not to seek reelection in 2022, after Illinois State Democrats pretty much redistricted his seat out of existence. That's some reward for obsessively criticizing former and potentially future President Donald Trump under the bus, isn't it? In the time leading up to his retirement from Congress, he has continuously been throwing his own party under the bus, and his farewell speech was no different.


One major takeaway from the speech was Kinzinger yet again reminding anyone who would listen how terrible the Republican Party supposedly is. The soon-to-be former congressman certainly thought it was a takeaway, as he tweeted out a Chicago Sun-Times headline highlighting as much.

The piece was written by Lynn Sweet, but it read almost like it could have come from Kinzinger himself:

Kinzinger, who sacrificed his political career — at least for now — for speaking out against lies and election denial, said in his farewell address that he had wanted to end his time in Congress with the country in better shape than when he started, but “I cannot in good conscience say that I have done that.”

Instead of members using “our platform to advance the well-being of our nation and her people, we’ve turned this institution into an echo chamber of lies.”


When Kinzinger wraps up his sixth term next month he will depart as one of only two elected Republicans in the entire nation — with Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming the other — to clearly and consistently condemn fellow Republicans for failing to acknowledge the dangers our civil society faces in the wake of the election denial and lies spawned and spread by former President Donald Trump.

Kinzinger and Cheney are the only Republicans who were willing to serve on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack and the events leading to the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election and keep Trump in office. 

And that’s what he did Thursday. 

“Where Republicans once believed that limited government meant lower taxes and more autonomy, today limited government means inciting violence against government officials,” Kinzinger said.

“Following the tragic Oklahoma City bombing, former President George H. W. Bush publicly refuted those who used fear to gain support. In stark contrast, our leaders today belittle, and in some cases justify, attacks on the U.S. Capitol as “legitimate political discourse.” The once great party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan has turned its back on the ideals of liberty and self-governance. Instead, it has embraced lies and deceit.

“The Republican Party used to believe in a big tent, which welcomed the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Now we shelter the ignorant, the racists, who only stoke anger and hatred to those that are different than us.

“Our constituents voted us in based on our beliefs, but we cannot use our faith as a sword and a shield while ignoring the fact we are all children of God, that we are all Americans.”


Kinzinger's speech also contained a self-congratulatory and even holier than thou attitude, as he claimed that he can sleep at knowing he has been "standing up for the truth," going on to also claim that "I know many in this institution cannot do the same."

While Sweet mentioned particularly eyebrow raising moments of Kinzinger's speech in which he compared the Oklahoma City bombing to January 6, 2021, it was without commentary. Others provided that commentary over Twitter where Sweet did not, though.

A clip from Breaking 911 highlighting this part of the speech has over a thousand replies, and most of the retweets are quote retweets taking issue with the comparison. 


One tweet about Kinzinger's remarks came from a person claiming to be on site at the time and involved graphic language as well as an image of a firefighter carrying a child victim from the bombing. 

As much as one may want to roll their eyes about Kinzinger invoking Abraham Lincoln, among others, he's not even the first RINO to recently do so. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), another soon-to-be former member of Congress, lost her primary in August by nearly 40 points, and was also similarly heralded in Sweet's piece above. In her concession speech, she too mentioned Lincoln, even comparing herself to the first Republican president. 

Curiously, Kinzinger did not harp on role that Illinois Democrats played in giving up his seat, but rather seemed to imply it was because of his obsessively anti-Trump attitude and his decision to serve on the January 6 select committee. "Had I know that standing up for truth would cost me my job, friendships, and even my personal security, I would, without hesitation, do it all over again," he said at one point.

Kinzinger himself highlighted this line when tweeting out the link to the full C-SPAN clip. 


Republican strategist Greg Price, who tweeted out a clip, set the record straight though.

"Adam Kinzinger" was trending on Twitter throughout Thursday and early Friday morning as people mocked his speech.

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