- Rep. Adam Kinzinger again blasted Republican political figures who support Russia’s goals for Ukraine.
- He said said an “affection for authoritarianism” has led some Republicans to advocate for Vladimir Putin.
- Kinzinger said Putin is seen as a person defending the “culture of the past.”
GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said on Sunday that a growing number of Republican political figures are showing an “affection for authoritarianism” by voicing support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s campaign to stop Ukraine from joining NATO.
In an interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation,” Kinzinger was asked about the segment of the Republican Party who asked President Joe Biden not to interfere with Putin’s goal. The congressman said this group isn’t “a huge portion” of his party, but that “it’s way too big and it’s growing.”
In the interview, Kinzinger cited “having an affection for authoritarianism” as one of the possible reasons why some party members have taken Putin’s side. He also put the blame on people being naive about foreign policy and Putin’s public image.
“And I think Vladimir Putin has done a decent job of engaging in culture battles and culture war, and he is seen as the person defending, in essence, the culture of the past. And so it’s very frightening,” he told CBS’ Margaret Brennan.
Kinzinger added that “any Republican that has affection for Vladimir Putin has no understanding of what our party stands for or what our country stands for.”
During the interview, he also singled out Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has repeatedly sided with Putin over Ukraine-Russia tensions and thrown doubts at Washington’s backing of Ukraine.
Carlson in January shrugged off claims that he was a “pawn of Putin,” calling the idea “stupid.” At the time, he had just commented that Russia’s amassing of more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border was due to Putin wanting to “keep his western borders secure” — rhetoric that’s also been used by the Kremlin.
Kinzinger’s comments also come as Carlson continues to build a working relationship with Hungarian far-right leader Viktor Orbán, who has regularly been called an authoritarian by political commentators and NGOs.
A vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, Kinzinger has previously slammed US political figures for supporting Putin. On February 3, he tweeted that Senator John Hawley was “one of the worst human beings” and a “con artist” for calling on Biden to block Ukraine from joining NATO.
When Hawley called Kinzinger’s outburst “weird,” the Illinois representative accused Hawley of being “more interested in pleasing Tucker and playing to worst instincts than leading.”
This month, the Republican National Committee voted to censure Kinzinger and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney for their participation in the January 6 House Committee. Kinzinger had announced earlier that he wouldn’t seek re-election this year, and has hinted — but not confirmed — that he may run for governor instead.