Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is bringing the hammer down on President Donald Trump and a group of his supporters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
Graham said Thursday that members of the mob that besieged the Capitol should have been shot by U.S. Capitol Police — and that Trump should perhaps be removed from office if “something else happens,” Fox News reported. The senator’s forceful comments came a day after he called on authorities to identify and prosecute the rioters “to the fullest extent of the law.”
Dozens of other political leaders, including some Republicans, have since called for Trump’s removal from office, saying he incited an “insurrection.”
Trump’s “accomplishments were tarnished”
Graham, who has often been criticized by liberals as a Trump sycophant, seemed to eye the exits with caution as he joined those accusing the president of having encouraged the unrest.
“All of the president’s accomplishments were tarnished by yesterday,” Graham said at a Thursday press conference, according to Fox. “The president needs to understand his actions were the problem, not the solution.”
Graham also said that Capitol police had failed to keep order and that the protesters should have been shot. One Trump supporter, later identified as a 35-year-old Air Force veteran named Ashli Babbitt, was killed by police, and three others also died amid the chaos, according to NPR.
“Warning shots should have been fired,” Graham said Thursday. “Lethal force should have been used once they penetrated the seat of government.”
The South Carolina senator had seemed to draw a line in the sand Wednesday when he rebuffed Trump’s demands to object to Joe Biden’s “lawful” victory, saying “enough is enough” after the mob interrupted a joint session of Congress to certify the results, as Fox reported separately.
“A peaceful transfer of power”
Graham’s latest comments came amid speculation about Trump’s fate, with talk of the 25th Amendment, new calls for impeachment, a social media lockdown, and a falling out between Trump and major allies, including Vice President Mike Pence, all in the headlines.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) both called for Trump’s immediate removal on Thursday, ABC News reported.
Graham threatened Trump with the prospect as well, saying Thursday that it is a possibility if “something else happens” before Biden is inaugurated in 13 days, as Fox noted.
“I don’t support invoking the 25th Amendment now. If something else happens, all options would be on the table,” Graham remarked. “I do not believe it’s appropriate at this point, we’re looking for a peaceful transfer of power.”