Sen. Lindsey Graham is leading a number of Senate Republicans in an effort to keep 45th President Donald Trump from keeping his promise to pardon January 6 defendants and prisoners should he be reelected in 2024.
Trump said he was strongly considering pardons for the January 6 defendants during an interview on “The Wendy Bell Show” earlier this month, telling the conservative radio host he greatly sympathizes with the detained men and women sometimes referred to as Joe Biden’s political prisoners.
Now, Graham, who presents himself as an ally of Trump despite having worked to moderate the former president’s America First policies during his first term in office, wants to change Trump’s mind, according to The Hill.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 12, 2022
He told that outlet that it’s “a bad idea” for Trump to pardon the January 6 defendants because “Pardons are given to people who admit misconduct, rehabilitate themselves. They’re not supposed to be used for other purposes,” like preventing politically motivated prosecutions.
Graham is apparently joined by a small number of Republicans in the Senate, including Sens. Kevin Cramer, Mike Rounds, Mitt Romney, and Senate Republican Whip John Thune.
Cramer told The Hill that Trump shouldn’t “hold pardons out as a promise” while considering a run for reelection, saying it is “problematic” for him “on a moral and ethical level” and compared it to “giveaways”.
Trump needs to stop talking to Little Linds. Linds is a warmongering neo-con who’s really not bright. Certainly not America First. https://t.co/fZ64Ujaf5N
— Ned Ryun (@nedryun) September 12, 2022
Rounds declared that the January 6 defendants must “be punished” for the “insurrection” and he would “disagree” with Trump’s pardons.
Romney, meanwhile, remains a vocal opponent of Trump even in this new plan. He twice voted to impeach Trump during his first term in the White House, reportedly told Joe Biden to run against Trump in 2018, and has been a vocal proponent of prosecuting January 6 defendants severely.
He told The Hill that January 6 “was an attack on the temple of democracy” and said that the defendants “should be prosecuted according to the law, and certainly should not be pardoned,” then characterized Trump’s pardon promise as “a grossly inappropriate comment to make.”
It remains to be seen if Trump will listen to Graham, who has repeatedly threatened to break with the former president since Biden ascended to the White House, but Trump appeared convinced of his plan during the interview on September 1.
“I mean full pardons with an apology to many,” he told Bell regarding his plans for the January 6 defendants. He added that he would “will look very, very favorably about full pardons” and explained that if “I decide to run, and if I win, I will be looking very, very strongly about pardons, full pardons.”