Ex-Republican congressman endorses Biden, warning Trump ‘threatens America’s future’

Adam Kinzinger, the former Illinois Republican congressman, has announced he is endorsing Joe Biden for the presidency in 2024 and attacked the incumbent’s Republican challenger Donald Trump as a threat to American democracy.

Describing himself as a “proud conservative” in a new social media video explaining his decision, the former representative sought to carve out a path for other anti-Trump Republicans to follow his example and reject the GOP contender at the ballot box in November.

“While I certainly don’t agree with President Biden on everything, and I never thought I’d be endorsing a Democrat for president, I know that he will always protect the very thing that makes America the best country in the world: our democracy,” Kinzinger said.

Turning his attention to Trump, he argued that the former president “poses a direct threat to every fundamental American value.”

“He doesn’t care about our country,” Kinzinger continued.

“He doesn’t care about you. He only cares about himself. And he’ll hurt anyone or anything in pursuit of power.”

Cutting to a montage of harrowing footage from the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, he said: “We saw that he tried to overturn an election he knew he lost in 2020. He attacked the foundation of this nation, encouraging a violent mob of his supporters to march on the Capitol to prevent the peaceful transition of power.

“Now he’s become even more dangerous. He’s called for a ‘termination’ of the Constitution. He wants to be a dictator on day one. He actually said that. And he’s continuing to stoke the flames of political violence.”

Adam Kinzinger at a House select committee hearing on the January 6 attack on December 19 2022 (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Adam Kinzinger at a House select committee hearing on the January 6 attack on December 19 2022 (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Addressing Republicans, Independents and the undecided, Kinzinger concluded by declaring: “Now is not the time to watch quietly as Donald Trump threatens the future of America.

“Now is the time to unite behind Joe Biden and show Donald Trump off the stage once and for all.”

An ex-United States Air Force pilot who flew missions in South America, Afghanistan and Iraq, Kinzinger voted for Trump in 2020 but emerged as a prominent critic of the outgoing president in the wake of the Capitol riot, breaking ranks to vote to impeach him for a historic and unprecedented second time and subsequently serving on the House Select Committee on the January 6 attack.

He subsequently declined to seek re-election and left office in January 2023 after 12 years in the role, representing Illinois’ 11th and then 16th district.

His announcement, coming on the eve of the first 2024 presidential debate between Biden and Trump in Atlanta, Georgia, promises to provide some useful artillery for the president as he seeks to appeal to other conservatives dissatisfied with Trump’s chaotic tenure in the White House and uneasy about his near-total takeover of the Republican Party.

Biden last month hired Kinzinger’s former chief of staff Austin Weatherford to serve as his campaign’s national Republican outreach director and the president was quick to repost his new ally’s video on Wednesday, writing on X: “This is what putting your country before your party looks like.”

Biden’s team is trying to build what it calls “a permission structure” for right-leaning voters who would typically have a difficult time casting a ballot for a Democratic presidential candidate to break with the habits of a lifetime and cross the aisle in opposition to Trump, notably targeting voters who supported Nikki Haley in the Republican primaries this spring.

In a statement welcoming Kinzinger’s endorsement, Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez described him as “a true public servant who is a model for putting our country and our democracy over party and blind acquiescence to Trump.”

She added: “Congressman Kinzinger represents the countless Americans that Donald Trump’s Republican Party have left behind.

“Those Americans have a home in President Biden’s coalition, and our campaign knows that we need to show up and earn their support.”