Trump must be convicted to 'save the US' from a 'dangerous road of violence': GOP congressman

Trump must be convicted to 'save the US' from a 'dangerous road of violence': GOP congressman

In November and December, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois was among the few House Republicans who openly acknowledged former Vice President Joe Biden as president-elect and flatly rejected debunked claims that widespread voter fraud robbed then-President Donald Trump of a second term. And after a violent mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed and ransacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, Kinzinger voted to impeach Trump for "incitement to insurrection." In an op-ed published by the Washington Post on February 8, Kinzinger lays out some reasons why he is hoping that Trump's second impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate will end with a "guilty" verdict.

"This isn't a waste of time — it's a matter of accountability," the conservative congressman writes. "If the GOP doesn't take a stand, the chaos of the past few months and the past four years could quickly return. The future of our party and our country depends on confronting what happened — so it doesn't happen again."

The 42-year-old Kinzinger, who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, adds, "The immediate cause for Trump's impeachment was January 6. But the president's rally and resulting riot on Capitol Hill didn't come out of nowhere. They were the result of four-plus years of anger, outrage and outright lies. Perhaps the most dangerous lie — or at least the most recent — was that the election was stolen. Of course it wasn't, but a huge number of Republican leaders encouraged the belief that it was. Every time that lie was repeated, the riots of January 6 became more likely."

The January 6 insurrection didn't prevent Congress from certifying Biden's Electoral College victory, and he was sworn in as president of the United States on January 20. But Kinzinger laments that many Trump supporters still buy into the nonsense claim that he was the real winner of the 2020 presidential election.

"Impeachment offers a chance to say enough is enough," Kinzinger writes. "It ought to force every American, regardless of party affiliation, to remember not only what happened on January 6, but also, the path that led there. After all, the situation could get much, much worse — with more violence and more division that cannot be overcome. The further down this road we go, the closer we come to the end of America as we know it."

Pretending that the violence of January didn't occur, according to Kinzinger, will only encourage more violence.

"I firmly believe the majority of Americans — Republican, Democrat, independent, you name it — reject the madness of the past four years," Kinzinger writes. "But we'll never move forward by ignoring what happened or refusing to hold accountable those responsible. That will embolden the few who led us here and dishearten the many who know America is better than this. It will make it more likely that we see more anger, violence and chaos in the years ahead."

The congressman continues, "The better path is to learn the lessons of the recent past. Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road."

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