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Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was ‘inappropriate’ for Trump to float pardons for January 6 rioters

Police use pepper spray and tear gas to clear the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol and clashed with police officers on January 6, 2021.

photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was “inappropriate” for Trump to float pardons for January 6 rioters.
  • “I don’t want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol,” he said on CBS on Sunday.
  • Trump has yet to announce whether or not he will pursue a 2024 White House bid.

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said that former President Donald Trump hinting at potential pardons for January 6 rioters during a weekend rally in Texas was “inappropriate.”

During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” the South Carolina Republican and Trump ally diverged from the former president regarding his Saturday comments after moderator Margaret Brennan played a segment from the Saturday event in Conroe.

“If I run and I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly,” Trump told supporters at the “Save America” rally. “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”

Graham expressed disagreement with the former president’s statements when asked by Brennan.

“I don’t want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol,” the senator said. “There are other groups with causes that may want to go down the violent path if these people get pardoned.”

He emphasized: “I think it’s inappropriate. 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.”

—Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 30, 2022

More than a year after the January 6 insurrection — where rioters breached the US Capitol in an attempt to halt the certification of now-President Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Trump — 178 individuals have pled guilty to a range of crimes in connection to the riot and more than 750 people have been charged with crimes. 

The bipartisan House select committee investigating January 6 is currently probing the attack, much to the dissatisfaction of Trump and many Republicans in Congress.

The former president has not yet announced if he will launch a 2024 White House bid but has held campaign-style rallies across the country since leaving the Oval Office last year.

Graham went on to make an unsubstantiated connection between then-Sen. Kamala Harris’s support of the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit organization that assists low-income individuals who need money for bail, and the rioting that occurred in the state after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.

After Harris asked her Twitter followers “to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” the former president and Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas attempted to conflate peaceful demonstrators fighting for racial justice with those who were actively rioting.

According to The Washington Post, few of the protesters actually needed assistance from the Minnesota Freedom Fund, and roughly 92 percent of the people charged during the protests weren’t required to post bail.

However, on Sunday, Graham brought up Harris during the interview with Brennan.

“When Kamala Harris and her associates and the people that work for her, her staffers, raised money to bail out the rioters who hit cops in the head and burned down stores, I didn’t like that either,” he said.

He added: “I don’t want to do anything from raising bail to pardoning people who take the law in their own hands because it will make more violence more likely. I want to deter people who did what on January 6. And those who did it, I hope they go to jail and get the book thrown at them because they deserve it.”

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