Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger is one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump a second time. Today, as the Senate trial for that impeachment gets underway he has penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post that makes the case that if Trump is not convicted on the article of inciting an insurrection America could find itself in a similar situation again soon.
Kinzinger writes, “Winston Churchill famously said, ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.’ All Americans, but especially my fellow Republicans, should remember this wisdom during the Senate’s trial of former president Donald Trump. I say this as a lifelong Republican who voted to impeach Trump last month. Virtually all my colleagues on the right side of the aisle took the opposite path. Most felt it was a waste of time – political theater that distracted from bigger issues. The overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans appear to feel the same way about conviction. But this isn’t a waste of time. It’s a matter of accountability. If the GOP doesn’t take a stand, the chaos of the past few months, and the past four years, could quickly return. The future of our party and our country depends on confronting what happened – so it doesn’t happen again.”
In the congressman’s estimation, Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally and resulting riot on Capitol Hill Jan. 6 were born out of “four-plus years of anger, outrage and outright lies,” the most dangerous of which was that the election was stolen. “Impeachment offers a chance to say enough is enough,” he writes. “It ought to force every American, regardless of party affiliation, to remember not only what happened on Jan. 6, but also the path that led there. After all, the situation could get much, much worse — with more violence and more division that cannot be overcome. The further down this road we go, the closer we come to the end of America as we know it.”
Kinzinger concludes, “We’ll never move forward by ignoring what happened or refusing to hold accountable those responsible. That will embolden the few who led us here and dishearten the many who know America is better than this. It will make it more likely that we see more anger, violence and chaos in the years ahead.
“The better path is to learn the lessons of the recent past. Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road.”