A week after publicly breaking with President Donald Trump over the insurrectionist Capitol riot, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) accused Congress of “outrageous misconduct” on Wednesday night for impeaching the outgoing president for inciting the seditious MAGA mob, revealing he was fully back on the Trump train.
Graham also argued that if Trump were to be convicted by the Senate after he leaves office, this would open the door for past presidents to be impeached—specifically using George Washington as an example because “he owned slaves.”
Hours after the House of Representatives, including 10 Republicans, made Trump the first president in history to be impeached twice, Trump-boosting Fox News host Sean Hannity demanded that all Republican senators refuse to take part in the Senate impeachment trial.
“Any Republican senator, let me be clear, that dares waste one second on this charade, after the president is gone from office, they need to be out of office,” he fumed, adding: “Every Republican senator needs to let the raging Democrats talk to themselves, and to tell them to stop wasting the country’s time.”
Interviewing Graham later on his program, Hannity repeated his argument while noting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—who is reportedly considering a vote to convict Trump—has rejected Democratic calls for a speedy trial.
While Graham wouldn’t commit to not partaking in the trial, the South Carolina lawmaker did rail against the “snap” impeachment and claimed that a Trump impeachment trial post-presidency would result in further violence from Trump supporters.
“These actions, if they continue, will incite more violence,” the senator declared. “Every time you ask President Trump to calm his people down, to reject violence, to move on, he has done it. How has he been met? I think outrageous misconduct by the Congress itself.”
Saying a trial would be an “unconstitutional attack” on Trump, Graham once again embraced the recent right-wing talking point that holding the president accountable would only cause more violence and division.
“To my Republican colleagues, let’s stand up for the idea that post-presidential impeachments are bad for the presidency, bad for the country, and if we go along with it as Republicans, we will destroy the Republican Party,” he asserted. “Over time we will destroy the presidency.”
Graham went on to say that Trump was only impeached due to “sheer hatred” before offering up a hypothetical regarding future impeachments.
“Under this theory, the radical left — if you can impeach a president after they are out of office, why don’t we impeach George Washington?” Graham huffed. “He owned slaves. Where does this stop?!”
The Republican senator ended the eyebrow-raising segment by accusing Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris of “inciting violence” by supporting a bail fund for protesters and issuing more veiled threats.
“We should reject post-presidential impeachments because it will destroy the country and incite violence,” he said. “If you want to end the violence, end the impeachment.”
Immediately following the Capitol riot, Graham had loudly declared on the Senate floor that “enough is enough” and you can “count me out” when it comes to Trump, prompting Trump supporters to heckle him at an airport and label him a “traitor” the following day.
Since then, the conservative senator has gotten back into Trump’s good graces, even while most of the president’s advisers and aides have abandoned him. Graham traveled to Texas for Trump’s border wall speech this week and has been lobbying his fellow Republicans to acquit Trump in an impeachment trial.