Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday took aim at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for scolding former President Trump for inciting the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection last month — despite McConnell’s vote against convicting Trump — because Graham believes that the Senate minority leader just placed a burden on the GOP heading into the midterms next year.
After voting that Trump was not guilty of the impeachment article against him, McConnell said in a Senate floor speech on Saturday that the rioters who attacked the Capitol “did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth.” McConnell, who failed to acknowledge his role in egging on Trump’s election fraud falsehoods for months leading up to the deadly Capitol insurrection, said he ultimately voted in favor of Trump by arguing conviction of a former president isn’t the Senate’s role.
McConnell’s vote in favor of Trump’s acquittal didn’t stop Graham from taking aim at the Senate minority leader during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” as the South Carolina Republican bragged about Trump’s supposed eagerness to help the GOP during next year’s midterm elections.
Graham griped on “Fox News Sunday” that McConnell’s speech condemning Trump for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol last month will be used against Republicans as they try to retake control of Congress next year.
“I think Sen. McConnell’s speech, he got a load off his chest, obviously, but unfortunately he put a load on the back of Republicans,” Graham said. “That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns.”
Graham argued that Republican candidates running in battleground states such as Arizona and Georgia will be pressed on McConnell’s speech rebuking Trump, which would also place the burden on GOP incumbents to answer the question of whether they will support McConnell in the future.
Staying true to his status as Trump’s foot soldier, Graham said that although the former president pushed “narratives about the election that I think are not sound and not true,” he insisted that Trump’s rhetoric did not incite the Capitol attack.
Graham considers McConnell’s speech an “outlier” in terms of the GOP’s views in general about Trump’s second impeachment.
Graham also touted on “Fox News Sunday” that he has spoken to Trump since the trial. Graham claimed that although the former president is upset with several Republicans, Trump is “excited about 2022” and plans to help the GOP in next year’s midterm elections.
Graham went on to float the idea that Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, is “almost certain” to be nominated for the Senate in light of Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-NC) surprise vote to convict Trump.
“The biggest winner of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump,” Graham said. “My dear friend Richard Burr, who I like and have been friends to a long time, just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs, and I’ll certainly be behind her because she represents the future of the Republican Party.”
Two days before the Senate ultimately voted against convicting Trump, Graham huddled with Trump’s legal defense team alongside Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-IT) in advance of the lawyers’ rebuttal of the charge that the ex-president incited the Capitol insurrection last month.
Watch Graham’s remarks below: