- Rep. Kinzinger said he was prepared to use his gun to defend himself at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
- “There was a moment where I was like, ‘Man, there’s a real sense of evil,'” he told Rolling Stone.
- Kinzinger recounted the six hours barricaded in his office as the mob of insurrectionists loomed.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger in a recent interview said that he considered using his gun during the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, expressing that he was “prepared to defend” himself against his own party.
While talking with Rolling Stone, the Illinois Republican spoke of the “real sense of evil” he felt that day, and even before the insurrection occurred, he felt as though violence, fueled by then-President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of a stolen election, was imminent.
“I knew there was going to be violence. I didn’t necessarily know they were going to sack the Capitol, but I knew there was going to be violence. In fact, I warned [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy two days prior to it. And he was very dismissive of it, of course,” Kinzinger told the magazine.
The congressman described how the day progressed as he tried to get a sense of what was developing on Capitol Hill.
“I asked my staff to stay home,” he said. “I came in, it was kind of a normal morning. I was watching Trump’s speech and it was crazy, like usual.”
He added: “I remember seeing [Donald Trump] Jr. say, ‘This is now Trump’s party.’ And I’m like, well that’s creepy. And then Trump says, ‘I’m going to go with you to the Capitol.’ I’m like, ‘Man, this is bad.'”
Kinzinger then recounted how he attended the start of the Electoral College certification in the House chamber, but then left the proceedings and spent six hours “hunkered down” in his office with his gun, where he said he was “prepared to defend” himself.
The congressman noted that at around 2:30 p.m. on January 6, a “bad feeling” took over.
“There was a moment where I was like, ‘Man, there’s a real sense of evil.’ I can’t explain it any further than that. … I just felt a real darkness, like a thick, bad feeling. And there was about a 15-to 30-minute time frame, where, at one point, you realize they’ve breached the Capitol. I know if they can breach those outer lines, they can get anywhere, including my office,” he told the magazine.
He added: “I had been targeted on Twitter that day and prior, like, ‘Hangman’s noose. We’re coming for you.’ And people know where my office is. So I barricaded myself in here, thinking, ‘If this is as bad as it seems, they may end up at my office, breaking this crap down, and I may have to do what I can.'”
Kinzinger said that he “thought about” having to use his gun because the mob outside of his office doors was unrelenting in their quest to stop the election certification of a president, one of the hallmarks of US democracy, and he knew that they were eager to complete their doomed goal.
“If you’re already at a point where you’re beating down police officers, and you’re willing to sack the US Capitol, which hadn’t been done in hundreds of years, if you come face-to-face with Chief RINO in his office, who doesn’t believe that Donald Trump won reelection, yeah, they’re going to try to fight and kill me, and I’m not going to let that happen,” he said.
Kinzinger is now a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, one of only two Republicans on the panel alongside GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.