Mr Kinzinger exited Congress at the beginning of this year after he voted to impeach Mr Trump for his role in the January 6 riot and worked on the House select committee investigating the attack. Mr Kinzinger was one of only two Republicans who worked on the committee along with former congresswoman Liz Cheney, who also voted to impeach Mr Trump.
Since then, he’s joined CNN as a contributor. Mr Kinzinger spoke on Wolf Blitzer’s show about Mr Trump’s decision not to participate in the first Republican presidential primary debate in Milwaukee.
“If he was the incumbent running for re-election, you know, if this was 2020, like, I get that, but he lost, he lost for the Republicans the presidency,” he said. “The Republicans have done nothing but lose since Donald Trump.”
Mr Kinzinger said that Mr Trump is “a coward.”
“He’s scared to death of Chris Christie,” he said. “Because I think Chris Christie is going to wipe the floor with him.”
Mr Christie, who served two terms as governor of New Jersey, previously endorsed Mr Trump in 2016 and was one of his biggest defenders. Since then, he’s emerged as a major critic of the former president, largely running for the White House to weaken the twice-impeached and four-times-indicted Mr Trump.
In addition to boosting Mr Christie on CNN, Mr Kinzinger hosted Mr Christie on a livestream on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday evening.
Former representative Joe Walsh, a former fan of Mr Trump who became a critic, differed slightly from Mr Kinzinger. Both men represented Illinois.
“I agree with my friend Adam Kinzinger that Donald Trump is a coward,” he posted on X. “Completely. But Trump isn’t afraid of Chris Christie. Not at all. Christie is no threat to Trump, and Trump knows it.” Trump isn’t skipping the debate bcuz he’s afraid. He’s skipping the debate bcuz he has to be THE story. And he thinks he’ll be a much bigger story if he’s not there.”
Fox News will host the first Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday evening. But Mr Trump has indicated he will not participate in the debate.