CNN announced Wednesday that it has hired recently retired Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL) as a senior political commentator. The word came as the lawmaker’s tenure in office ended after he decided not to seek reelection.
The previously obscure politician rose to prominence in 2021 when he assumed the mantle of one of the most outspoken critics of former President Donald Trump in either party. He then served as one of only two Republicans on the House Jan. 6 committee.
Ex-Rep. Adam Kinzinger joins CNN as political commentator https://t.co/EPDedo9fTf
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 5, 2023
It is widely believed that Kinzinger decided against seeking another term in office, which he’d held since 2011, for fear of the same fate that overtook fellow anti-Trump Republican Liz Cheney (R-WY).
It was CNN anchor Erin Burnett who made the surprise announcement on the air Wednesday. She declared “I am pleased to welcome (Kinzinger) to CNN. He is appearing tonight in his new role, which is senior political commentator.”
The former representative responded that “it’s great to be on the team, by the way.”
Kinzinger is known for his theatrics, having infamously given a tearful speech during one of the Jan. 6 committee’s early hearings into Trump’s actions on that day. He emotionally charged that there are differences between a “crime — even grave crimes — and a coup.”
This won admiration from leftists intent on bringing down the former president, and apparently from CNN as well.
Kinzinger certainly will bring appeal to CNN’s Democratic viewers, though claims of his being a “moderate” are tough to defend. His voting record speaks otherwise.
ProPublica data showed his track record is far more conservative than his leftist supporters would have you believe. In fact, Kinzinger voted in line with former Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on 90% of issues from 2017 to 2018.
Kinzinger blasted King as an “extremist.”
And while denying he had presidential aspirations similar to those of Cheney, he recently said it “would be fun” to run against Trump, who is already a 2024 presidential candidate.
It is uncertain how hiring the now ex-congressman plays into the aspirations of new CNN President Chris Licht. The head man has axed or demoted anchors and changed some programming in a self-described attempt to “diversify” viewpoints and bring a more level tone to the network.