Trump blasts Lindsey Graham for opposing rioters’ pardons

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Trump blasts Lindsey Graham for opposing rioters' pardons

Former President Donald Trump labeled Sen. Lindsey Graham — a staunch supporter of the 45th president — a “RINO” Tuesday night for disagreeing with him on potentially pardoning those involved in last year’s Capitol riot. 

During an interview with Newsmax, Trump was pressed on a statement by Graham (R-SC) that pardoning defendants held in connection with the riot was “inappropriate.” 

“You talked about the potential, if it’s appropriate, of pardoning some of the January 6ers,” Newsmax host Rob Schmitt said. “Lindsey Graham said a couple days later he thinks that’s inappropriate. What do you think?”

“Well, Lindsey Graham’s wrong,” Trump began. “I mean, Lindsey’s a nice guy, but he’s a RINO. Lindsey’s wrong.” 

“Lindsey Graham doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about if he says that,” the former president added. 

Trump has often labeled members of his party who disagree with him “RINOs,” for “Republicans in Name Only.”

supporters of US President Donald Trump clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
Supporters of President Donald Trump clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol building, January 6, 2021.
JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

During a Saturday rally in Texas, the former president hinted that if he decides to run for president again in 2024 and wins back the White House, he will pardon those who are facing charges related to the violence of Jan. 6, 2021.

“If I run, and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly,” Trump said.

“And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons,” he added. “Because they are being treated so unfairly.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham disagreed with Donald Trump’s idea of pardoning January 6 rioters.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has charged more than 700 people in connection with the riot. Many face charges of disorderly conduct, entering a restricted building, obstructing law enforcement or assaulting police officers. 

Graham, who has repeatedly supported the 45th president in his potential 2024 White House bid, slammed the idea of pardoning the defendants on Sunday. 

“No, I don’t want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked if he agreed with the move. “There are other groups with causes that may want to go down to the violent path [if] these people get pardoned.”

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of President Donald Trump riot at the Capitol building, January 6, 2021.
REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

When pressed by host Margaret Brennan about whether Trump’s comments were “dangerous,” Graham hesitated.

“Yeah, well, I think it’s inappropriate,” he answered. “I — I don’t want to reinforce that defiling the Capitol was OK. I don’t want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future.”

“I don’t want to do anything, from raising bail to pardoning people who take the law into their own hands, because it will make more violence more likely … I hope they go to jail and get the book thrown at them because they deserve it,” Graham added. 

Several other Republicans have slammed Trump’s comments, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“I would not be in favor of shortening any of the sentences for any of the people who pleaded guilty to crimes,” he told reporters Tuesday, according to The Hill. 

“The election of 2020 was decided December 14 of 2020 when the Electoral College certified the winner of the election. What we saw here, on January the 6th, was an effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another, which has never happened before in our country.”

Donald Trump has often labeled members of his party who disagree with him “RINOs.”
Newsmax

While Trump has not officially decided if he will run again for president, he is expected to make a decision following the November midterm elections. 

In May of last year, Graham warned that the GOP cannot “move forward” or “grow” without Trump being a leader in the party. 

“The most popular Republican in America — it’s not Lindsey Graham, it’s not [Rep.] Liz Cheney, it’s Donald Trump,” Graham said at the time. “People on our side of the aisle believe the Trump policies worked. They’re disappointed that he lost, and to try to erase Donald Trump from the Republican Party is insane, and the people who try to erase him are going to wind up getting erased.”

supporters of US President Donald Trump clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC
More than 700 people have been charged in connection with the riot.
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s impossible for this party to move forward without President Trump being its leader, because the people who are conservative have chosen him as their leader,” he added. “And you know why they chose him? Because he delivered. He was the most consequential president for national security since Ronald Reagan. He secured the border. He cut our taxes, brought a new attitude of being an American, and the people have chosen him, not the pundits.”

The South Carolina Republican doubled down on his support last month after the former president slammed McConnell again, calling him an “Old Crow.” 

Graham insisted that whoever the Republican leader in the House or Senate following the midterms will be, they must have a “working relationship” with Trump.

"Newsmax @newsmax 
DONALD TRUMP: 'RINO' Lindsey Graham "doesn't know what the hell he's talking about" when the Senator says it would be inappropriate for Trump to potentially pardon Jan 6 defendants.  @SchmittNYC"
Lindsey Graham warned that the GOP cannot “move forward” or “grow” without Donald Trump as a leader.
Newsmax

“Elections are about the future,” Graham said. “If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump.” 

While the senator did not confirm if Trump will run for president again, Graham said the GOP nomination in 2024 is “his … if he wants it.” 

Graham’s office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham , R-S.C., seated in front of a picture from a violent protest in Portland, Oregon last year, questions witnesses during a committee hearing to examine the domestic terrorism threat one year after January 6, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Washington.
Senate Judiciary Committee member Lindsey Graham questions witnesses during a committee hearing to examine the domestic terrorism threat one year after January 6.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

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