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Kinzinger says relatives told him he has embarrassed the family name

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Boehner finally calls it as he sees it The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-Ill.), who has emerged as one of former President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE’s most outspoken GOP detractors, opened up about being disowned by members of his family. 

The six-term congressman told The New York Times that 11 members of his family sent him a handwritten two-page note after he called for removing Trump from office over the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!” the letter began.

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Its writer also accused him of working with “the devil’s army,” which includes Democrats and the “fake news media.”

“We thought you were ‘smart’ enough to see how the left is brainwashing many ‘so called good people’ including yourself and many other GOP members,” the letter continued. “You have even fallen for their socialism ideals! So, so sad!”

The note, obtained by the Times, states that the family members were “thoroughly disgusted” with Kinzinger.

“It is now most embarrassing to us that we are related to you,” they wrote. “You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name.”

Kinzinger’s cousin, Karen Otto, said in an interview with the Times that she paid $7 to send it by certified mail to the lawmaker’s father. She also sent copies to members of Illinois’s congressional delegation.

“I wanted Adam to be shunned,” Otto told the newspaper.

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Kinzinger said the family members who sent the letter suffer from “brainwashing” from conservative churches.

“I hold nothing against them,’’ he said, “but I have zero desire or feel the need to reach out and repair that. That is 100 percent on them to reach out and repair, and quite honestly, I don’t care if they do or not.”

Kinzinger has been making national headlines amid his battle against what he calls “Trumpism” in the Republican Party.

He launched a new PAC aimed at challenging the GOP’s acceptance of the former commander in chief. Kinzinger said he plans to target two of Trump’s most ardent defenders in the lower chamber — Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Sunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Liz Cheney says allegations against Gaetz are 'sickening,' refuses to say if he should resign MORE (R-Fla.).

Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol breach. He acknowledged last month that the vote could be “terminal” to his career but said he was willing to lose his House seat over it. 

“But I also knew that I couldn't live with myself having, you know, try to just protect it and just felt like the one time I was called to do a really tough duty, I didn't do it,” the centrist Republican said.

The Illinois congressman, who won reelection in the fall after voting against Democrats' previous efforts to impeach Trump in late 2019, now faces a GOP primary challenger and resistance from state party officials who have remained loyal to the former president.

The La Salle County Republican Central Committee, located in the district he represents, moved to censure him earlier this month.

“The party’s sick right now,” Kinzinger told the Times. “It’s one thing if the party was accepting of different views, but it’s become this massive litmus test on everything. So it’s a possibility down the road, but it’s certainly not my intention, and I’m going to fight like hell to save it first.”