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He says he's a moderate Republican, and the party is on a 'slide to authoritarianism'

Adam Kinzinger delivers remarks during the fifth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack, in June 2022.
Alex Wong
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Getty Images
Adam Kinzinger delivers remarks during the fifth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack, in June 2022.

Adam Kinzinger describes himself as a Republican moderate; something he says is a dying breed in American politics.

Who is he? A former Illinois congressman, Kinzinger served from 2011 until finishing his term at the beginning of this year.

  • He is well known for his opposition to parts of his own party in the later years of his political career — especially in the wake of the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol.
  • Kinzinger and former Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney were the only two Republicans to serve on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack.  
  • He was also one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in 2021, and later announced that he would not seek reelection


What's the big deal? Kinzinger expands on these feelings of dissent in his new book Renegade — a reflection on his work, life and political career.

  • In it, he details his perspective of what he says is a broken political system, the grueling nature of working as a politician, and his increased disillusionment with the Republican Party in the wake of Trump's presidency and subsequent impeachment trials.

Kinzinger's new book.
/ Penguin Random House
/
Penguin Random House
Kinzinger's new book.

What's he saying? Kinzinger spoke with All Things Considered host Scott Detrow about his career, the state of his party and what the future might hold.

On the type of people seeking office these days:


Want more on the House speaker? Listen to Consider This explore the career of Mike Johnson.


On former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's ousting:

On the difficulty of the job and the concept of "selling your soul:"

On whether he still considers himself a Republican:

So, what now?

  • Kinzinger is unsure if he's out of politics for good. 
  • "You know, if you asked me this six months ago, I may have kind of hedged and said possibly, but I was exhausted. I'm coming to grips with the toll that it really did take on my family. The death threats, the people threatening to kill my 6-month-old child, which just goes to show the depravity in people's hearts. But as I've kind of come to grips with it and time has gone on, yeah, I could see a possibility where I get involved again."


Learn more:

This interview was conducted for radio by Scott Detrow, edited by Courtney Dorning, and produced by Tyler Bartlam. contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Manuela López Restrepo
Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.