Rep. Kinzinger Says 'Trump Is Like a Cancer' That's Spreading and That He Felt 'Dirty' Voting for Him in 2020

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger says that, while he voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, he did so begrudgingly — and only to satisfy his base. Despite losing the election, Kinzinger says the former president continues to "spread' through the Republican Party like a "cancer."

In an interview with The Washington Post, Kinzinger said he did not vote for Trump in 2016, instead getting "super drunk" on election night and wondering, "Trump's president, how do we deal with this?"

By 2020, though, Kinzinger could see that Trump had something of an iron grip on the party. So, he said, he voted for him in order to have "credit with the base."

"That way I can say with a straight face I voted for him," Kinzinger told the Post. "I know he is not going to win, but I can say I did it. And so I have credit with the base."

Now two years later, he said he regrets the decision.

"It's not something I can square away in my soul fully," he told the outlet.

RELATED: Rep. Adam Kinzinger Says Jan. 6 Hearings 'Not Winding Down,' Could Stretch Past Midterms

These days, though, Kinzinger continues to criticize Trump, serving on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots,  which took place when a crowd of violent Trump supporters breached the Capitol building, forcing the evacuation of lawmakers as they certified the presidential election for Joe Biden.

Speaking to the Post, Kinzinger compared Trump to "cancer," arguing that lawmakers "need to stand up" to the former president and those who mimic him.

"Trump is now secondary to the cancer. Trump is like a cancer of the liver. Now we have cancer in the whole body, and the next person that can mimic Trump can still pull his magic tricks," he told the Post. "We've got to stand up against this."

RELATED: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Warns of Nation's Violence After Someone Threatens to Execute Him, His Family

Earlier this month, in an interview on CBS News' Face the Nation, the Illinois representative said that since the hearings began last month, "the amount of information we're getting has just rapidly accelerated," adding that they "may have more hearings in the future, and the investigation is still ongoing."

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Despite voting for Trump in 2020, Kinzinger has become a fierce critic of the former president since the riots, and was was one of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote to impeach Trump for "incitement of insurrection" in the wake of the deadly U.S. Capitol riot by the former president's supporters.

Kinzinger faced criticism and death threats of his own since coming out against Trump, taking to social media to share threatening letters and voicemail messages addressed to him, his wife, Sofia Boza-Holman — a former communications staffer for then-Vice President Mike Pence — and referencing the couple's 5-month-old son, Christian.

RELATED: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Knew 'Full Well' Voting to Impeach Trump Could Hurt His Career

Even some of Kinzinger's own relatives have disavowed him over his impeachment vote, writing in a letter published by The New York Times in February, "Oh, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!"

Speaking to the Times, Kinzinger chalked the letter up to what he called his family's "brainwashing" by conservative churches.

"I hold nothing against them, but I have zero desire or feel the need to reach out and repair that," Kinzinger told the paper. "That is 100 percent on them to reach out and repair, and quite honestly, I don't care if they do or not."

He continued: "The party's sick right now. It's one thing if the party was accepting of different views, but it's become this massive litmus test on everything."