Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said Friday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” that former President Donald Trump’s claims he won the 2020 election could lead to domestic violence that larger than the January 6 Capitol riot.
Kinzinger said, “On January 5, we never imagined that January 6 the level of dead would happen, although a lot of us predicted violence up to that day. That’s the if you floor now. So when you look at online rhetoric and chatter that’s happening, and you look at maybe 100 people post insane comments like bring out the gallows, even if only two of those out of 100 are serious, that leads to violence.”
He continued, “I think what the biggest concern is, is all this talk, people trying to sound tough on the internet, but that end up kind of feeding itself. Particularly when people start brainwashing folks with the election was stolen. Look at what all these patriotic people did in the 1700s. This is the same thing. The mask mandate is basically the equivalent of not allowing you to practice your religion, which is 1776, taxation without representation. Ultimately, that does grow into action. It’s a real concern.”
Cooper said, “The DHS intelligence chief is saying that the increasing calls for violence are linked to conspiracy theories, false narratives. The fact that so many people in the Republican Party, I got to say, including the former president, are still pushing the big lie and these conspiracy theories — the fact that there is a former president of the United States still pushing this stuff it does make it all the more concerning. It gives it a legitimacy it otherwise would not have.”
Kinzinger said, “Yeah, it absolutely does. In the past, when you know in the ’90s it was the U.N. black helicopters, you always have eras of conspiracies, but they were never given oxygen by people in authority. When you have someone in authority that then comes up and even if they don’t directly say — obviously, the former president constantly says the election was stolen. But maybe if he doesn’t directly, for instance, parrot what QAnon has been saying, there is little winkles or nods to it. Or there is no disavowing of it. When somebody with authority speaks conspiracy or when somebody with authority speaks that dark part in everybody’s heart that we always have to fight against, the desire to hate, the desire to divide, it gets permission to let that overtake you. We can’t be surprised when this happens to a large scale like we saw on January 6 and like we are concerned about in the future.”