Mike Pence Treatment Shows Need to Be MAGA ‘Zombie’ to Stay in Trump ‘Tribe’: Adam Kinzinger

Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger on Sunday asked fellow GOP lawmakers and “MAGA tribe” members to tell their constituents the truth about the 2020 election and stop campaigning like “zombies” desperate to get re-elected.

Kinzinger, a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump‘s power over the GOP, told Meet the Press on Sunday that Republican lawmakers across the country are “scared to do anything” that might upset the fanatical Trump base. Kinzinger said the fickle whims of Trump and the party were put on full display recently when “MAGA” supporters turned on former Vice President Mike Pence following the release of a book that detailed Trump and Pence getting into a fight in the Oval Office.

Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked Kinzinger to respond to the Oklahoma Republican Party becoming the latest state to censure members of their own party for “failing to delay the certification” of the 2020 presidential election.

WATCH: Rep. Kinzinger says attacks on fmr. V.P. Pence shows that if you “turn an ounce against Donald Trump, you're out of the tribe.”@RepKinzinger: “You either have to be a zombie for the MAGA belief system … or actually stand up and tell your constituents the truth.” #MTP pic.twitter.com/62ChUUWNov

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) July 11, 2021

“It's just like Donald Trump's method, right? The biggest enemy to MAGA world right now is not even me or Liz Cheney, it's Mike Pence. Mike Pence is one of the most faithful people to Donald Trump. But if you ever turn an ounce against Donald Trump, you're out of the tribe,” Kinzinger said.

“So to all of my colleagues in politics, let me say this to you: You either have to be a zombie for the MAGA belief system, whatever that is today or tomorrow—it varies every day based on Donald Trump's whims—or actually stand up and tell your constituents the truth. And that's what we have to do is tell people the truth. We all know what the truth is. You guys know what the truth is. The American people and your base deserve to hear it,” Kinzinger continued.

Todd said January 7 was supposed to be the “turning point” when a majority of Republicans in Congress realized “Trumpism is a virus inside the Republican Party that needs to be eradicated.” But instead, he said, Trump's stranglehold on the GOP appears to have gotten even tighter, as this week's CPAC event showed.

Todd asked Kinzinger to respond to a censure resolution in Osage County, Oklahoma, where local GOP officials drafted a resolution to censure Senators James Lankford and Jim Inhofe “for failure to delay the certification of fraudulent electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.”

“That's the moment we're in,” Kinzinger replied. “Just this kind of chaotic people scared to do anything, people scared of their own shadow, absolutely desperate to get re-elected, and meanwhile the innocent people in our base that in many cases have been led to believe that the election was stolen, is not hearing anything from any of the people that they trust.”

A new book from Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal details a scene that reportedly took place between Trump and Pence in the White House over an article about GOP lobbyist Corey Lewandowski. Bender writes:

“[Trump] crumpled the article and threw it at his vice president. ‘So disloyal,' Mr. Trump said. Mr. Pence lost it…Mr. Pence picked up the article and threw it back at Mr. Trump. He leaned toward the president and pointed a finger a few inches from his chest. ‘We walked you through every detail of this. We did this for you—as a favor. And this is how you respond? You need to get your facts straight.”

Trump on Friday responded to the book's claims about the fight, saying, “The story written by third-rate reporter Michael Bender, that Mike Pence and I had a big fight over Corey Lewandowski, is totally false. No such fight ever happened, it is fiction as are so many others stories written in the vast number of books coming out about me.”

Newsweek reached out to Kinzinger's and Pence's representatives for any additional remarks Sunday afternoon.

Ted Lieu Pence Trump talk Capitol riot
Adam Kinzinger said Sunday the treatment of Mike Pence shows the need to be a MAGA “zombie” to stay in Trump's “tribe.” Above, Pence and Trump listen during a conference call with the International Space Station on October 18, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee/Getty

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