Graham: Trump’s legacy ‘tarnished,’ but not supportive yet of 25th Amendment
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday warned that President Trump’s legacy was undercut after rioters supportive of challenging the election results breached the Capitol on Wednesday, he added that he wasn’t supportive of “at this point” of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.
Graham, speaking to reporters, said Trump’s legacy was “tarnished by yesterday.”
“The president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution,” Graham said. “The rally yesterday was unseemly, it got out of hand.”
Graham added that the past 24 hours would be “a major part” of Trump’s presidency and “a self-inflicted wound.” He added that Trump should dial down his rhetoric “and allow us as a nation to heal and move forward.”
Trump has claimed for weeks that the election was “rigged,” even as he’s faced numerous legal setbacks and election experts have dismissed claims of widespread voter fraud. He also urged his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., including calling on them to gather outside the Capitol, on Wednesday as Congress counted the Electoral College votes.
But he has faced fierce backlash over his response to rioters who stormed the Capitol. The pro-Trump mob entered both the House and Senate chambers and forced the joint session to suspend counting the Electoral College votes for hours. Congress eventually certified Biden’s win early Thursday morning.
Graham was critical of his GOP colleagues who supported efforts to overturn the election through the joint session, “the Congress’s job is not to overturn elections that we disagree with.”
“This needs to end,” Graham added.
Trump’s handling of the riots has sparked growing calls from Democrats for the 25th Amendment to be invoked. Graham said he did not support that “at this point.”
“I do not believe that’s appropriate at this point. I’m looking for a peaceful transfer of power,” Graham said. “If something else happens all options would be on the table.”
Graham, during his press conference, lashed out at Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the rest of his legal team saying that they “made accusations without sufficient proof” and were “more the problem than the solution.”
He also acknowledged that some of the steps Trump urged Vice President Pence to take were unconstitutional, including unilaterally rejecting a state’s electoral slate.
“In this debacle of the last week or so there’s one person to me who stands out above all others and that is Vice President Mike Pence,” Graham said. “The things he was asked to do in the name of loyalty were over the top, unconstitutional.”
Despite his criticism, Graham said he did not regret supporting Trump over the past four years despite being one of the president’s biggest critics during the 2016 campaign.
“He won my state and became president of the United States. I decided then it’s not about me, it’s about my job,” Graham said.