Crain’s Chicago Business: Adam Kinzinger on his path from rising star to pariah: A.D. Q&A podcast

Shortly after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger predicted that without his bully pulpit, Donald Trump’s grip on the GOP would loosen.

He admits now—with a laugh—that he was wrong. “I would have assumed there would be a lot more reckoning with what happened, a little more shame,” Kinzinger says on the latest episode of A.D. Q&A, the Tuesday edition of Crain's Juice newsletter on power and politics. “I still consider myself a Republican,” Kinzinger continues. The party, he says, has changed. He hasn’t.

“I would imagine that we could all at least agree that you shouldn’t tweet out videos of yourself killing other members of Congress or you can’t be openly racist—or racist at all—and we don’t even seem to rally around that,” he says, referring to Rep. Paul Gosar’s anime animation of killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. 

Kinzinger entered Congress as one of the Republican Party’s young guns and leaves as an outcast, but he's at peace with his decision to exit the U.S. House at the end of his term.

“I look back at our ‘rabble rousing’ class of 2010 and we’re unbelievably establishment in comparison to some of these folks coming here now," he says. "I think without strong leaders telling people why it’s important to work together, to be calm in this process, you’re going to let people’s impulses come out, and that’s what’s been happening.”

How he might serve as that kind of leader—whether running for Illinois governor, U.S. Senate, the presidency, or by dedicating himself full-time to his Country First movement—is still unclear. 

But as Crain’s reported last week, Kinzinger does believe if he did hop into the governor’s race, he’s the only candidate who could win. How? He lays out some strategy in this conversation, while conceding that surviving a statewide primary is far from certain. “Republicans aren’t happy with me,” he acknowledges.

Kinzinger discusses all that, plus whether he’s mended fences with the family members who disowned him for opposing Trump, and more. Give it a listen.

The original article and audio coverage can be found on the website here.