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GOP Lawmaker Got a Letter From Family After Ditching Trump

'I wanted Adam to be shunned,' cousin Karen Otto says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2021 2:19 AM CST

(Newser) – Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who voted to impeach then-President Trump and warned his fellow Republicans that it's "time to choose," may be risking his career by standing up for what he believes, the New York Times reports in an extensive piece on the lawmaker. Kinzinger, who was censured by the La Salle County GOP in his home state of Illinois after voting to impeach last month, revealed to the newspaper a letter written by one of his cousins and signed by 11 members of his family calling him "a disappointment to us and to God" and accusing him of having "embarrassed the Kinzinger family name" by his breaking with Trump. Karen Otto, the cousin who penned the letter and sent copies to Republicans across Illinois, tells the Times she "wanted Adam to be shunned." Kinzinger says some of his family suffers from "brainwashing" from conservative churches.

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The 42-year-old Air Force veteran and Air National Guard pilot, a six-term congressman representing a district in the suburbs of Chicago, can often be seen on cable TV and podcasts urging a return of the Republican party to the days of George W. Bush. He's not a fan of the current conspiracy-theory-fueled climate, nor was he a fan of the Obama days, when Republicans opposed everything the president did without offering their own new ideas. "We just fear," he tells the Times. "Fear the Democrats. Fear the future. Fear everything. And it works for an election cycle or two. The problem is it does real damage to this democracy." But some of his constituents are upset by his stance, as are many GOP officials in his state, and while some Democrats have praised him, he certainly doesn't fit in that party—he opposes abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act, and was endorsed by Sarah Palin when he first ran for Congress. See the Times for much more, including Trump's vulgar message to Kinzinger in 2016. (Read more Rep. Adam Kinzinger stories.)

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