House

Kinzinger says he considered firing weapon on Jan. 6

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) revealed in a new interview that he considered firing his weapon on Jan. 6 as pro-Trump supporters were storming the Capitol.

During an interview with CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp for Rolling Stone that was published Monday, Kinzinger said he was “hunkered down” in his office for six hours “with my gun out, prepared to defend against my own party” when the rioters were making their way through the Capitol.

Pressed by Cupp about whether he considered the possibility that he would need to use his firearm against American citizens, Kinzinger said, “Yeah, I thought about it.”

“If you’re already at a point where you’re beating down police officers, and you’re willing to sack the U.S. Capitol, which hadn’t been done in hundreds of years, if you come face-to-face with Chief RINO in his office, who doesn’t believe that Donald Trump won reelection, yeah, they’re going to try to fight and kill me, and I’m not going to let that happen,” Kinzinger added, referring to the pejorative “Republican in name only.”

Asked if he was ever “genuinely scared” on Jan. 6, the Illinois Republican said he felt that way at around 2:30 p.m., a moment when he thought, “Man, there’s a real sense of evil.”

“I can’t explain it any further than that. And I’m not one of these guys that feels evil a lot. But I just felt a real darkness, like a thick, bad feeling,” he added.

He said that once the rioters breached the Capitol’s outer defenses, he knew they could “get anywhere,” including his office.

“I had been targeted on Twitter that day and prior, like, ‘Hangman’s noose. We’re coming for you,’” Kinzinger said.

“And people know where my office is. So I barricaded myself in here, thinking, ‘If this is as bad as it seems, they may end up at my office, breaking this crap down, and I may have to do what I can,’” he added.

Kinzinger has been outspoken in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, voting for former President Trump’s impeachment and criticizing his congressional colleagues for spreading false claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent — an assertion that was at the heart of the January assault.

He is also one of two Republicans serving on the House select committee probing the Jan. 6 attack, along with Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.).

That opposition, however, put a target on his back within his own party; some of his colleagues have criticized the Illinois congressman, and Republicans back home censured him.

Kinzinger announced last month that he will not seek reelection next year. In a video, he pointed out the sharp partisanship throughout the country.

Kinzinger told Cupp that he warned House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in advance that Jan. 6, the day Congress was set to convene to certify the election results, would be violent, but his concerns were pushed aside.

The Illinois lawmaker said he told his staff to stay home on that day in anticipation of the violence.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Donald Trump Jan. 6 attack Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney

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