House

Kinzinger: Republicans who join 'America First' caucus should be stripped of committees

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) blasted fellow GOP lawmakers who plan to join the "America First Caucus," saying anyone who becomes a member should lose their committee assignments.

Kinzinger, a vocal critic of former President Trump, tore into the caucus after it was reported that GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) would lead formation of the group.

The caucus calls for promoting "Anglo-Saxon political traditions," and several House Republicans came out Friday to criticize the group and its policy platform.

"I believe anyone that joins this caucus should have their committees stripped, and the Republican conference should expel them from conference participation," Kinzinger tweeted.

"While we can't prevent someone from calling themselves Republican, we can loudly say they don't belong to us," he added.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also appeared to criticize the new group Friday, tweeting that the GOP "is the party of Lincoln ... not nativist dog whistles."

Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, also condemned "racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism" in a tweet apparently aimed at the new group.

The America First Caucus's platform maintains that "a certain intellectual boldness is needed" in order to "follow in President Trump's footsteps, and potentially step on some toes and sacrifice sacred cows for the good of the American nation."

"America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions. History has shown that societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country," the caucus's platform states.

Greene and Gosar, the group's leaders, have cast themselves as loyal allies to Trump while also garnering a wave of bipartisan criticism.

Greene has faced pushback over expressing racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views prior to her election in 2020, and Gosar spoke at a conference whose organizer has expressed white nationalist views.

It's unclear how many lawmakers are looking to join the America First group, but Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) on Friday told reporters on Capitol Hill that he is "looking at" joining, while Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said he is becoming a member.

For his part, Kinzinger has cast himself as one of the top GOP antagonists of Trump and his allies in Congress. The Illinois lawmaker was just one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump's impeachment in January, and he has repeatedly criticized the lingering sway the former president holds over the GOP.

Kinzinger was among 11 House Republicans who joined with Democrats earlier this year to strip Greene of her committee assignments over her past support for conspiracy theories and for using violence against Democratic politicians.

  

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