On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) suggested on Fox News that officials should stop inquiries into former President Donald Trump’s misconduct, warning that an indictment against the former chief executive could result in violence by his loyalists.
Graham, himself a Trump loyalist, didn’t acknowledge the attack on the U.S. Capitol building by a mob of Trump’s most ardent followers on January 6, 2021, in his comments.
Instead, Graham suggested that inquiries into Trump were political and claimed that “there is no law” that the Department of Justice (DOJ) or other agencies adhere to.
“It’s all about getting him. There is a double standard when it comes to Trump,” Graham said.
The senator’s comments brush off evidence of Trump’s misdeeds, including his mishandling of hundreds of highly classified documents, which the former president improperly stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida even after receiving a subpoena order for the return of the documents earlier this year.
Many of the materials that Trump kept at his Mar-a-Lago estate dealt with sensitive matters relating to national security.
Graham said that Trump’s supporters would react violently if the DOJ charged the former president with a crime.
“If there is a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information…there will be riots in the street,” Graham said.
Graham’s warning, which he repeated later on in the program, was shared by Trump on his Truth Social profile.
Many on social media condemned Graham’s comments.
“What exactly motivated Graham to make these comments?” questioned MSNBC producer and blogger Steve Benen. “The rhetoric seemed to straddle the line between warning and threat. ‘Let Trump get away with crimes,’ the senator seemed to suggest, ‘or his followers will turn violent.'”
“Lindsey Graham is now claiming that there will be riots if Trump is prosecuted,” said Aaron Parnos, a Democratic strategist. “Not only will this rhetoric incite violence, but it shows that he believes Trump should be above the law.”
“Threats of violence should NEVER stop the pursuit of justice. NEVER. And you KNOW that Lindsey,” said former GOP congressman Joe Walsh, directing his comments to Graham.
“Is this supposed to dissuade Garland from treating Trump like anyone else who had committed this crime?” asked former FBI agent and national security analyst Asha Rangappa. “@LindseyGrahamSC is an absolute embarrassment to our country.”
Wajahat Ali, a columnist for The Daily Beast, noted that Graham’s comments would have resulted in a much greater backlash if they had come from a person of color.
“Imagine if Muslims and Black people threatened potential violence against the country and law enforcement if they investigated us…imagine the outrage, the headlines, and the discussions,” Ali wrote.
“Trump, [Missouri GOP Sen. Josh] Hawley, Graham, and MAGA do it…eh, both sides,” he went on.