Kinzinger, 44, earned widespread recognition as one of only two Republicans on the Jan. 6 House committee that investigated the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. (The other was Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was voted out of office for taking on Donald Trump.)
CNN’s latest hire comes just a few months after the network’s new president, Chris Licht, stated that he would like more varied viewpoints and wider political coverage.
Speaking with CNBC in October about trying to restore the brand’s image, Licht said “the analogy I love to use is some people like rain, some people don’t like rain. We should give space to that. But we will not have someone who comes on and says it’s not raining,” Licht said of his opposition to any form of disinformation brought to the network, which recently laid off hundreds of employees.
Though Kinzinger has been branded as liberal by some fellow Republicans for his anti-Trump stances, the practicing Christian has a broader range of conservative viewpoints to add more balance to the network.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty
After his recent retirement, Kinzinger shut down talk of a run for president in 2024, though he said it “would be fun” to go against Trump.
“No, it’s not my intention, no,” Kinzinger said on CNN’s State of the Union when questioned about a potential run, as reported by The Hill. “But it would be fun to run against him because he stands up and just lies. He tells untruths.”
“People love it because it’s entertaining but eventually, people have a concern for their country,” Kinzinger added of the controversial former president, whom he begrudgingly voted for in 2020.
“It’s not something I can square away in my soul fully,” Kinzinger told The Washington Post last July. The Kankakee, Illinois, native was one of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riot.
Lo Scalzo Jim/Pool/ABACA/Shutterstock The House select committee’s final meeting
Speaking to the Times, Kinzinger chalked the letter up to what he called his family’s “brainwashing” by conservative churches.
“I hold nothing against them, but I have zero desire or feel the need to reach out and repair that,” Kinzinger told the paper. “That is 100 percent on them to reach out and repair, and quite honestly, I don’t care if they do or not.”
He continued: “The party’s sick right now. It’s one thing if the party was accepting of different views, but it’s become this massive litmus test on everything.”
Kinzinger has blamed Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy for helping keep Trump relevant politically, and has voiced his “disappointment” in McCarthy’s leadership in the Republican party, The Hill reported.
Prior to entering politics, Kinzinger served in the Air Force, two tours in Iraq and currently remains in the Air National Guard.
Upon announcing his retirement in Oct. 2021 after six terms in Congress, the Illinois representative expressed his commitment to spreading truth in the United States.
“My passion for this country has only grown,” he said via Twitter video. “My desire to make a difference is bigger than it’s ever been. My disappointment in the leaders that don’t lead is huge. The battlefield must be broader, and the truth needs to reach the American people across the whole country.”