Lindsey Graham Says Trump's Support for Jan. 6 Pardon Is 'Inappropriate': 'I Hope They Go to Jail'

The former president told supporters at a recent rally that if re-elected, he would use pardons as needed for the hundreds of people charged in the U.S. Capitol attack

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham, usually an avid supporter of Donald Trump, criticized the former president's latest comments about potentially pardoning Jan. 6 rioters if he can pull off a return to the White House in 2024.

Trump, 75, held a rally in Conroe, Texas, on Saturday and told the crowd he would consider pardons for hundreds who face charges related to the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last year.

"If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly," Trump said in his speech. "And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly."

Graham, 66, called the remarks "inappropriate" during a Sunday appearance on Face the Nation.

After playing a clip of the speech, moderator Margaret Brennan asked the South Carolina senator if he agrees with Trump on potential pardons for more than 700 people who've been charged.

"No, I don't want to send any signal that it was okay to defile the Capitol," Graham replied. "There are other groups with causes that may want to go down to the violent path that these people get pardoned."

When Brennan asked if Trump's remarks amounted to a "dangerous thing to say," Graham repeated his previous assessment. "Well, I think it's inappropriate," he said. "I don't want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future."

Not every Republican feels the same way: Conservatives' opinions of the Jan. 6 attack are notably different than the majority of American surveyed in polls and some GOP lawmakers have offered support or defenses for how the day played out. Trump himself initially made conflicting remarks about the rioters, ultimately urging them to leave the Capitol, but has since embraced them as he continues to lie about the election results.

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Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Samuel Corum/Getty

On his Sunday TV appearance, Graham didn't miss an opportunity to also denounce Democrats — and call out Vice President Kamala Harris — for efforts to assist people who were arrested during and after demonstrations across the country, sparked by racial injustice, that sometimes turned violent in summer 2020.

In June 2020, Harris tweeted a link to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, an organization whose mission is to fund "criminal bail and immigration bonds for those who cannot otherwise afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing," according to its website.

"If you're able to, chip in now," Harris wrote on Twitter, asking followers to help "post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota," the state where George Floyd was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin.

"When Kamala Harris and her associates and the people that work for her, her staffers, raised money to bail out the rioters who hit cops in the head and burned down stores. I didn't like that either," Graham said on Sunday. "So I don't want to do anything from raising bail to pardoning people who take the law into their own hands because it will make more violence more likely."

Graham's strongest words, however, were for the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

"Those who did it," he said, "I hope they go to jail and get the book thrown at them because they deserve it."

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