Former Republican Rep. Kinzinger endorses Biden

Washington — Former Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Wednesday endorsed President Biden’s reelection campaign, saying that the presumptive GOP nominee, former President Donald Trump, “poses a direct threat to every fundamental American value.”

“As a proud conservative, I’ve always put democracy and our Constitution above all else,” Kinzinger said in a video endorsement posted on social media. “And it’s because of my unwavering support for democracy that today, as a proud conservative, I’m endorsing Joe Biden for reelection.”

Kinzinger, who was one of only two Republicans who served on the now-defunct House panel that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, has been a vocal critic of the former president, and was among a small group of House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. He opted not to run for reelection in 2022.

Kinzinger said that “I never thought I’d be endorsing a Democrat for president,” noting that while he doesn’t agree with Mr. Biden on everything, he said he knows the president “will always protect the very thing that makes America the best country in the world — our democracy.” 

Citing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Kinzinger called Trump a “threat” to the country, saying the former president has “become even more dangerous” since, and warning Americans that “now is not the time to watch quietly as Donald Trump threatens the future of America.”

Kinzinger told CBS News in December that should the presidential contest come down to the president and former president, he “wouldn’t hesitate” to back Mr. Biden.  

The move comes as the Biden campaign has ramped up its efforts to target moderate Republicans and supporters of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley as the general election approaches. The campaign announced earlier this month the hire of Kinzinger’s longtime chief of staff Austin Weatherford as a “national Republican engagement director” to lead the outreach efforts to “independents and moderate Republicans who know what a danger Donald Trump is to the country if reelected for a second term,” a campaign official told CBS News. 

The Biden campaign touted the endorsement on Wednesday, saying in a statement that “Kinzinger’s rejection of Donald Trump is mirrored by millions of Republicans who voted against Trump because of his MAGA extremism during the Republican primaries.”

In response to the endorsement, Mr. Biden wrote in a social media post that “this is what putting your country before your party looks like.”

Aaron Navarro contributed to this report. 

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