Sen. Lindsey Graham came to Donald Trump’s defense Wednesday, calling the former president’s impeachment “unconstitutional” while urging Republicans not to abandon him lest they risk having the party “crack up.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum and Brett Baier on the day Joe Biden was inaugurated as the country’s 46th president, the South Carolina Republican also noted that he disagrees with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building, which prompted Democrats in the House to impeach him for a second time.
“It looks like we’re going forward” with the impeachment, Graham said. “We’re about to impeach a guy in Florida, okay? We’re about to impeach a man who is out of office, for the express purpose of making sure he can never run again.
“I think it’s unconstitutional. I think it continues to divide the country. I think it puts a cloud over the presidency. It will open up Pandora’s box regarding the presidency itself,” Graham continued. “So I would like the Republican leadership to be more firm.”
He went on to praise McConnell as a “good majority leader” who “was indispensable” to the former president in getting Trump’s judicial and Supreme Court nominees appointed, as well as other important legislation.
“He’s a solid conservative but I am hoping that he will make an announcement soon saying that impeachment under these circumstances is unwise and unconstitutional,” Graham continued, suggesting that Republicans turning on Trump would be damaging.
“If this party is going to survive, we gotta realize that Donald Trump had a consequential presidency for conservatives, that he’s gonna be the strongest voice in the party. I realize that, and I appreciate that,” said Graham.
The long-serving South Carolina Republican added that he hoped Trump would use his voice and his sway among GOP voters to help the party try and regain control over Congress in 2022.
Baier then noted that McConnell blamed Trump for the Capitol riot and asked if he agreed.
“No, I don’t,” Graham replied, noting that he did not agree with several claims that were made by President Trump’s campaign legal team following the Nov. 3 election.
“But the people that broke into the Capitol are responsible for their actions. I’m not responsible. Trump’s not responsible,” he said. “If you think President Trump committed a crime, he can be prosecuted. Impeachment is a political exercise that will further divide the country, and I think eventually destroy the presidency.”
House Democrats led the unprecedented second impeachment against Trump earlier this month following the Capitol riot. Also unprecedented: Democrats only allowed for a two-hour debate period, did not hold any hearings, and did not allow the president’s legal representatives to argue on his behalf.
MacCallum then noted that several Republicans want to “erase” Trump from the party and that the former president reportedly is considering launching his own “Patriot Party.”
“I hope he doesn’t. I hope he’ll stay the leader of the Republican Party,” Graham responded.
“If you’re a conservative, this has been a good four years — for judges, for rebuilding the military, bringing order to the border, for historic peace agreements in the Mideast,” he continued. “This has been a consequential presidency.”
- Sen. Hagerty drafts bill on war-powers authority: ‘I’m loath to ever unilaterally take leverage off the table’ - August 4, 2021
- Rand Paul on NIH chief’s mask-at-home remark: How can smart people ‘say such stupid things?’ - August 4, 2021
- ‘He’s a danger’: Cuomo accuser slams governor’s non-apology as pressure from Dems to impeach grows - August 4, 2021