Lindsey Graham: Trump should only be kicked out if 'something else happens'

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The Republican senator wants to let Trump off easy after he incited an attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) rejected calls on Thursday for Donald Trump to be removed from office, suggesting he should be allowed to redeem himself after inciting Wednesday's violent insurrection at the Capitol.

"As to the 25th Amendment being invoked: I do not believe that's appropriate at this point. I'm looking for a peaceful transfer of power. I'm looking for the next 14 days to reset and we will hand off power in a traditional sense, but it being a peaceful transfer," he told reporters at a press conference.

He added that if "something else happens, all options would be on the table."

Graham's comments come as bipartisan officials have urged Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke a provision in the Constitution temporarily removing the president from power. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer suggested on Thursday that if this does not happen, they would support another impeachment and kickstart the removal process themselves.

Graham's support for Trump comes in sharp contrast to comments he made during Wednesday's Senate debate on whether to reject the results of the 2020 election.

"Trump and I, we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it," he told colleagues. "From my point of view he's been a consequential president. But today, first thing you'll see. All I can say, is count me out, enough is enough."

At Thursday's press conference, Graham praised Trump's four years in the White House, but said they were "tarnished by yesterday" and that by spurring the deadly mob attacks on the Congress, "his actions were the problem not the solution."

"It breaks my heart that my friend, a president of consequence, would allow yesterday to happen. And it will be a major part of his presidency. It was a self-inflicted wound," Graham said, adding that he hopes Trump uses the next two weeks to "right the ship."

Those remarks sharply contradict Graham's sentiment during the 2016 Republican primary campaign. Back then, Graham memorably warned, "If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it."

Asked by reporters this week if he now regrets his 180 degree turnaround and full-throated support of Trump, Graham replied, "No."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.