Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) campaigned for Utah independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin Thursday, slamming GOP lawmakers for their actions following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
During the event, which was held at the Salt Lake City Public Library, the Illinois lawmaker, who is also one of the two GOP members on the House Jan. 6 Committee, said that “democracy is on the line” during this election, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Kinzinger also took jabs at Lee.
“If you’re Mike Lee, it’s still acceptable to say Donald Trump is the future of the party and the leader of the party,” said Kinzinger.
“It’s still acceptable to carry a pocket Constitution and say you follow the Constitution when you obviously betrayed the Constitution of the United States.”
Lee regularly carries a small copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket, which he pulled out at his debate against McMullin on Monday.
Kinzinger also reflected on the day of Jan. 6, and the “darkness” he said was cast over the Capitol building on that day.
“If we’re asking young people to fight and die for this country, I have to be willing to give up my career for the same cause,” Kinzinger said, according to the paper. “I’m surrounded by cowards,” Kinzinger continued, referring to some GOP lawmakers’ refusal to certify the election results even after the events of Jan. 6.
The comments from Kinzinger come amid a tightening race between McMullin and Lee. Lee’s fellow Utah senator, Mitt Romney (R), garnered outrage from former President Trump last week when he refused to endorse the incumbent for the 2022 midterms.
“This is the best opportunity I see in the country, and I mean that, to send a message, to build something new, to send somebody that can change the status quo,” said Kinzinger on Thursday of sending McMullin to Washington, D.C., the Tribune reported.
“Evan has sworn on the constitution to defend this country, and he has done it and he will do it as a U.S. senator,” the lawmaker continued, referencing McMullin’s experience working for the CIA.
McMullin followed up by saying that he does not want to go to Washington “to play the party power game,” adding that he will not caucus with Republicans or Democrats if he is elected.
The independent, who ran for president in 2016, said that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol created “an opportunity for us to come back with an alternative approach to politics in a way that can make us stronger.”
Updated at 12:44 p.m.