GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger: Trump, allies’ ‘grifting scam’ Electoral College challenge could lead to violence
Kinzinger is one of the few Republicans to speak out against the conspiracy theories Trump embraces and claims the election was rigged.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said Sunday he’s concerned about “people being driven to violence” as President Donald Trump, frantically trying to overturn the election, is urging his backers to demonstrate here when Congress counts Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
The claims of Trump and his supporters about the potential of the election being reversed is a “grifting scam,” Kinzinger said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
There is one final step to locking in Joe Biden as president, and that is when, at the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress, the Electoral College results from each state are tallied.
With Trump intent on staying in power, this won’t be a routine session.
Trump is lobbying Republicans in the House and Senate to contest the Electoral College certification. Biden has collected 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
Using his powerful and persuasive Twitter feed, Trump has been focusing on people and institutions he wants to help him stay in office. In the past few days, Trump has attacked Senate Republicans, the Supreme Court, the FBI and the Justice Department.
What is alarming is Trump’s encouragement for his supporters to hit the streets.
On Dec. 19, Trump said in a tweet, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
On Saturday, Trump said in a tweet, “The “Justice” Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud, the biggest SCAM in our nation’s history, despite overwhelming evidence. They should be ashamed. History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th.”
Twitter added under the post, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
On Sunday, Trump continued to encourage a protest, saying in a tweet, “See you in Washington, DC, on January 6th. Don’t miss it. Information to follow!”
Kinzinger, whose 16th Congressional District is south and west of Chicago, is one of the few Republicans — in Congress and in Illinois — to speak out against election deniers and the crazy conspiracy theorists Trump embraces.
After Trump’s Saturday invitation for his backers to come to D.C. to protest the election, Kinzinger responded in a tweet, “My God. Trying to burn the place down on the way out because you can’t handle losing. No evidence, nothing but your temper tantrum and crazy conspiracies. Embarrassing.”
On CNN Sunday, Kinzinger told host Dana Bash, “This is a scam, though, I mean, you know, to explain to people that somehow Congress can overthrow the certified results of every state, that we can change an election outcome when there was not a single court case that had any legs.”
Rather, some members of Congress, the president and what Kinzinger sarcastically calls “thought leaders” on Twitter are “raising money on this scam.”
“It is a scam; it is going to disappoint the people that believe this election was stolen, that think this is an opportunity to change it,” he said.
Bash asked Kinzinger if he was worried about what Trump may do in his last days in office.
“I’m concerned, to an extent about Jan. 6, because if you convince people that, you know, Congress can change a legitimate election and everything was stolen.”
Driving this, said Kinzinger, who has taken on a role as a conspiracy debunker, are “deep state” and “QAnon theories, which is that it’s Satanist pedophiles that run the government. You could see people being driven to violence, so I’m concerned about that.”
The Washington Post reported a pro-Trump rally was being planned for Jan. 6 and “conversations about the January gathering have taken off on chat forums used by far-right groups, including Gab, Parler and Telegram. The Proud Boys, members of armed right-wing groups, conspiracy theorists and white supremacists all have pledged to attend.”
There was a “Stop the Steal” rally in November and a march in December to back Trump marked by some clashes when “a group with ties to white nationalism roamed the streets looking for a fight,” the Post reported.
The vice president usually presides over the Electoral College joint session.
Whether Vice President Mike Pence plans to show up to gavel Trump out of the White House is not yet known.
Several GOP House members are expected to object to Electoral College swing state votes costing Trump a second term and the president is hunting for Senate allies.
These congressional GOP Trump loyalists may well be able to debate and delay the Electoral College tally. The will generate fireworks — but no fire. Biden will be the next president.