Fox News political analyst and GOP strategist Karl Rove will help headline a virtual fundraiser for Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in January.
Rove, who was credited with guiding George W. Bush to a pair of presidential victories, is on a ‘Kinzinger for Congress’ list that includes more than 150 GOP supporters, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The paper noted that Kinzinger, a former Tea Party favorite who has since become more of a GOP establishment voice often at odds with Trump, “has emerged as a national leader of the non-Trump wing of the Republican Party because of his willingness to denounce conspiracy theories and Trump’s embrace of the lie that he won the election.”
Kinzinger also voted with Democrats to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) from her House committees.
In voting to impeach Trump for an unprecedented second time, Kinzinger bought into the Democrat and anti-Trump conspiracy that the former president “incited” an “insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol Building.
But shortly after he voted to impeach, Kinzinger — whose district encompasses a portion of the Chicago suburbs — was censured by his own LaSalle County Republican Party.
“There doesn’t seem to be a camera or a microphone he won’t run to,” Larry Smith, the chairman of the La Salle County Republican Party Central Committee, told The New York Times.
“He used to talk to us back in the good old days,” Smith added, noting that Kinzinger rarely shows up to talk to his GOP constituents.
In an interview Monday with Newsmax TV’s Greg Kelly, Trump railed at Rove while suggesting that he will back a GOP primary challenger to Kinzinger next year.
“He shouldn’t be a Fox analyst,” Trump said, noting that Rove lobbied him on behalf of a 5G no-bid contract that he did not sign off on while in the White House, and wondering aloud to Kelly if “somebody” should check into whether the GOP strategist is registered to lobby.
“He was a fan of mine,” Trump continued. “He called me up the night of the  election to congratulate me… He very strongly said, ‘Congratulations on a great win.’ That was about 10:30 in the evening. He will never deny that. He said, ‘you won the election.’”
“Karl Rove, if he’s going for that guy – over anybody – he’s not a Republican; he’s not a good Republican,” Trump continued. “Look, he’s been a RINO for a long time – bad news… And I hope people don’t contribute to him.”
The virtual fundraiser, scheduled for March 31, is not going to go over well with the rank-and-file GOP voter base, the former president predicted.
“You know who’s going to give to that? Democrats,” he said. “He’ll have Democrats give. The Republicans are not going to give. Democrats are going to give.
“Between Karl Rove and Kinzinger, Republicans they’re not going to give, but plenty of Democrats will give. We’ll see how they do,” Trump added, hinting at perhaps supporting a primary competitor to Kinzinger: “He’s going to have some good competition.”
In fact, Kinzinger apparently does have a primary challenger.
“I’m running against the fake news media & the Washington Establishment. They will do whatever they have to do to protect their fellow swamp creature Adam Kinzinger. I need your help to take them all down,” Catalina Lauf wrote in a tweet Monday that included a link to a New York Times story regarding Rove’s fundraiser for Kinzinger.
I’m running against the fake news media & the Washington Establishment.
They will do whatever they have to do to protect their fellow swamp creature Adam Kinzinger.
I need your help to take them all down.
— Catalina Lauf (@CatalinaLauf) March 22, 2021
“Karl Rove headlines a group of big business & inherited wealth establishment Republicans – a cabal of open borders grandees – to finance the sellout, Adam Kinzinger,” responded Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortez.
Karl Rove headlines a group of big business & inherited wealth establishment Republicans – a cabal of open borders grandees – to finance the sellout, Adam Kinzinger.
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) March 22, 2021
“Thankfully, @CatalinaLauf rallies the America First cause for primary and general election wins in IL 16!” Cortez added.
Kinzinger has not officially announced his future political plans, but some have speculated that he may seek a U.S. Senate seat or run for governor in Democratic Illinois, hence his anti-Trump shift.