The Trump years have torn families in two. And it appears that not even the failed but still deadly MAGA coup of January 6 — which at the time like the end for Trumpism, that it would shock the nation back into some kind of normalcy — will patch the country back together. (Most Senate Republicans wouldn’t even convict him, even after their lives were put in danger.) Case in point: One of the Republican congressmen who has come out against Trump since the Capitol storming was all but disowned by members of his family.
The New York Times published a profile of Adam Kinzinger, a Representative in Chicago’s suburbs. He’s against the Affordable Care Act. He’s an opponent of abortion rights. He received an endorsement from Sarah Palin. But he blamed Trump for inciting the attempted insurrection and he was one of ten House Republicans to vote in favor of what became his second impeachment. And that inspired 11 members of his family to collaborate on a handwritten, two-page letter condemning him.
Read the two-page, hand-written letter Kinzinger's cousins sent him Jan. 8.
— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) February 15, 2021
“Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!” they wrote. “You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name!”
The writing of the letter was done by Karen Otto, Kinzinger’s cousin, who paid $7 to send it by certified mail, to ensure that it got into his hands. “I wanted Adam to be shunned,” she told NYT.
Still, neither this — nor any of the other things non-family members have said about or to him in the last month-plus — have caused him to step down. “The party’s sick right now,” Kinzinger said, and he sees goal as to “restore” the Republican Party. Currently the GOP is split between traditionalists like Mitch McConnell, Trumpists like Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan, anti-Trumpists like Kinzinger and Mitt Romney, and a vast number who appear to be afraid to come out against the former president, lest he drive his base to steal their congressional seat (or worse).
“We just fear,” Kinzinger told the Times. “Fear the Democrats. Fear the future. Fear everything. And it works for an election cycle or two. The problem is it does real damage to this democracy.”
Kinzinger has also had to put up with some pushback from You Know Who himself:
Mr. Trump, Mr. Porter said, poked his finger in his chest and told him to deliver to Mr. Kinzinger a vulgar message about what he should do with himself. When Mr. Porter relayed the comment to Mr. Kinzinger during a conversation on Election Day, Mr. Kinzinger laughed and invited Mr. Trump to do the same.