NY Times’ Jonathan Martin: Reps Cheney and Kinzinger Could Follow Gonzalez’s Lead and Quit


Republican Congressman Anthony Gonzalez revealed to the New York Times’s Jonathan Martin that he will be retiring from Congress after this term, citing concerns over his and his family’s security from threats of violence from Trump loyalists. Martin appeared on CNN’s New Day and revealed that Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger could be next.

Rep. Gonzalez was a star college football player for the Ohio State Buckeyes and was a first-round NFL draft choice. He also is a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump and called him a “cancer for the country.” He was one of a dozen Republican members of Congress that voted to impeach Trump following the attack on the Capitol on January 6th by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the election results.

Co-Host Brianna Keilar asked Martin how his report of Gonzalez retiring will affect the political future, particularly of the House Republican caucus that is mostly aligned with Trump.  “What does that tell you that you could have members of Congress sitting next to someone who celebrated the insurrectionists,” she opened. “What does that tell you about the makeup of  Congress coming up? ”

“Who is next?” Martin reframed the question. “The top two on the roster that everybody is now watching are the two who were on the otherwise Democratic-dominated January 6th commission, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney. Those are the other two,” Martin said. Cheney and Kinzinger, who serve on the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6th, could be next on the list will not survive primaries.

Martin’s report on Gonzalez did not hold back:

The congressman, who has two young children, emphasized that he was leaving in large part because of family considerations and the difficulties that come with living between two cities. But he made clear that the strain had only grown worse since his impeachment vote, after which he was deluged with threats and feared for the safety of his wife and children.

Mr. Gonzalez said that quality-of-life issues had been paramount in his decision. He recounted an “eye-opening” moment this year: when he and his family were greeted at the Cleveland airport by two uniformed police officers, part of extra security precautions taken after the impeachment vote.

“That’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Is this really what I want for my family when they travel, to have my wife and kids escorted through the airport?’” he said.

In many ways, Gonzalez is an ideal candidate for the future of the Republican Party. He is a Cuban-American college football star who played for the best team in the swing state of Ohio. His departure from politics s terrible news for any Republican that wants to see their party have a future beyond Trump, but it’s great news for Trump and his base of supporters. As Martin’s NY Times’s colleague Maggie Haberman tweeted, “this is how Trump wins.”

This report comes on the eve of a scheduled protest at the Capitol for the treatment of many Trump supporters currently being held behind bars due to their part in the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. It’s not yet clear if that demonstration will be an event of any merit or fizzle out.

Still, a threat of violence by Trump supporters leading to a respected Republican member of Congress retiring?

As John Berman said,  “this is a watershed moment.”

Watch Martin on New Day above, via CNN.

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Colby Hall is the Founding Editor of Mediaite.com. He is also a Peabody Award-winning television producer of non-fiction narrative programming as well as a terrific dancer and preparer of grilled meats.