After Joe Biden handily defeated incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in November of 2020, some people felt the division and tension in the United States might lessen. But beginning with Trump's refusal to concede, the fires of unrest only seemed to be stoked higher.
Still, most pundits and analysts would not have predicted an attempt to overthrow the election.
The violent insurrection that occurred on January 6—resulting in several deaths, over 100 injuries to law enforcement and millions of dollars in damages—changed those perceptions.
So, when retiring Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger warns of further violence, people are not as quick to dismiss his concerns.
Monday on CNN's The Situation Room, Kinzinger stated he feared the “real possibility” of civil war in the United States.
You can see the interview here:
After discussing the Republican Party's decision to censure Kinzinger for his participation in the Capitol riot inquiry, host Wolf Blitzer asked him:
"How dangerous is it Congressman for the Republican National Committee to whitewash the events of that day and to simply call it legitimate political discourse?"
GOP Representative Kinzinger—a military combat veteran—replied:
"Oh, it is extremely dangerous, and it is not even—it's, if there was a word even more intense than dangerous, I would use that."
Citing the consequences of Trump's and the RNC's big lie, he added:
"Look, if it—the election—was legitimately stolen, I would be pretty ticked off too. That violates everything I swore to defend."
"And so when you convince that number of people, it is not a far thought, Wolf, to think that someday, some militia shows up somewhere to do something and then some counter-militia and, truly, at that point that is how you end up in a civil war."
"I never would say that we would ever have ended in that position but I now believe it is a real possibility that we have to be wide-eyed as we walk into this so we don't have that happen again."
"And anybody that thinks that sounds cool, or they get to play dress-up because they somehow think it is going to be fun to go out and camp with their buddies and have a civil war, there are people that really think that, well, you know, the four or five heart medicines you're on, Walgreens isn't going to have them available when this place fails, and that is how serious this is."
In response to his warning, Blitzer asked:
"Am I hearing you right, Congressman? You fear potentially there could be a civil war here in the United States?"
"I do. And a year ago, I would have said, no, not a chance."
"But I have come to realize when we don't see each other as fellow Americans, when we begin to separate into cultural identities, when we begin to basically give up everything we believe so we can be part of a group, and then when you have leaders that come and abuse that faithfulness of that group to violent ends, as we saw on January 6, we would be naive to think it is not possible here."
The Illinois Republican concluded:
"We have to look at this wide-eyed and walk in and say we may have differences as left and right, but we have to bridge those differences because our basic survival is at stake, the basic survival of this democracy."
People agreed with Kinzinger's assessment.
Even when conservative media outlets tried to discredit Kinzinger, his warnings received support.
During The Situation Room interview, Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Kinzinger:
"Why do you still want to be a member of a party that seemingly all of the time now rejects you and rejects the values you uphold?"
"Yes, it is a good question. I'm not sure I would particularly want to be a member.
"But I believe, you know, in what the Republican Party used to stand for and I believe that the Republican Party, it is going to be around for a while. It plays a very important role obviously in politics and very well may take the majority."
"They deserve to have the truth told to them. And right now, there is just a few of us willing to tell the base voters the truth."
"There is a lot of people hiding in the sand because the truth is hard and it makes their life a little uncomfortable. I think we have to fight for the soul of the not just the party but the country."
"We are in a real dire moment, Wolf. And I think if we don't wake up and recognize that this is more than just performance art when we lie, when we tell people elections were stolen, this actually goes to the survival of this country and in the form we know it. It is that serious."
"It is worth fighting for. But I tell you, I do ask myself that question every day."
Representative Kinzinger joined Wyoming Republican Representative Liz Cheney on the House January 6 select committee at Speaker Pelosi's invitation.
Other House Republicans refused to participate after Pelosi refused to seat the GOP Representatives chosen by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy citing potential conflict of interest.
As a result of their participation, both Cheney and Kinzinger were officially censured by the RNC on Friday, February 4, 2022.