Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger divulged this week that "a lot" of his fellow Republicans have privately been encouraging his work on the newly empaneled House Select Committee investigating the causes and events of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday whether any of his Republican colleagues had privately endorsed his role on the committee — even while the GOP house leadership has publicly denounced the investigation — Kinzinger was unequivocal.
"Yes, oh yeah," he smiled and nodded.
There's a lot of people, you know, they come up and say it," he continued. "It's not any of the ones that go on TV and spout the 'Big Lie,' and then say it. It's the ones that are staying more quiet that I think appreciate the stand. But it's a lot."
Later, and perhaps more significantly, Kinzinger asserted that "nobody [in the GOP caucus] actually believes the election was stolen from Donald Trump."
"But," he added, "a lot of them are happy to go out and say it was."
This would, it would seem at first glance, be a huge deal. And from CNN's splash headline, there are those who want to make it such. But the truth is that Kinzinger's seemingly revelatory admission is largely a rehash of what many of his fellow Republicans had — at one point — been all too willing to say publicly!
Consider that, in the days and weeks immediately following the Jan. 6 attempted coup, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the riot "unamerican" and "unacceptable," adding that "you do not do what is happening right now."
Speaking with CNN, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher was even more pointed in his criticism of the insurrection — and went further, directly blaming Trump for the attack during an interview with CNN.
"The president needs to call it off. Call it off! Call it off! It's over. The election is over," Gallagher exclaimed during a call with the network in the midst of the riot. "The objectors need to stop meddling with the primal forces of our democracy here."
Even Minority Whip Steve Scalise, perhaps the most conservative, MAGA-fied member of current House Republican Leadership team spoke out against the insurrection attempt, tweeting at the time that "Attacks on law enforcement officers trying to do their jobs are never acceptable. Period."
Given all that, Kinzinger's statement that "a lot" of his fellow GOPers are privately backing his role on the committee — even while the more vocal members of his caucus have accused him of being a "Pelosi Republican" or having "simped" for Democrats — is less a stunning revelation about some hidden moral core lodged deep within the Republican party, as it is an inadvertent admission of the dishonest rot that has come to define the GOP.
Of course there are Republicans who are praising him in private! In the days after Jan. 6 even the most staunchly conservative conservatives were eager to denounce the obvious carnage and politically motivated mayhem unleashed at the Capitol. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. All Kinzinger has done in his comments to Blitzer is out his fellow Republicans — and the party as a whole — as a bunch of cowardly phonies. And, honestly, even that's been pretty obvious for a while now.