Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says former President Donald Trump is eager to get back into the game after the Senate failed for the second time to convict him in impeachment proceedings.
“He’s ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party and is excited about 2022,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.” He said the re-emergence of the former president can be called “Trump plus.”
“We need to unite the party. ‘Trump plus’ is the way back in 2022,” he said. “Donald Trump is the most vibrant member of the Republican Party.”
Graham said he talked with Trump after the acquittal. “I said, ‘Mr. President, this MAGA movement needs to continue.'” Graham said he plans to travel to Florida next week to golf with Trump.
“My goal is to win in 2022 to stop the most radical agenda I’ve seen coming out of the Democratic presidency of Joe Biden. We can’t do that without Donald Trump, so he’s ready to hit the trail and I’m ready to work with him,” said Graham, a longtime supporter of Trump.
The senator also said the former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, can win the GOP nomination in the North Carolina 2022 Senate race to run against the incumbent Republican. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) was one of the seven Republicans to vote to convict Trump on Saturday and plans to retire in 2022. Lara Trump was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, and went to North Carolina State University.
“My friend Richard Burr just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs,” Graham said, calling her the “future of the Republican Party.”
Burr blamed Trump for the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump supporters swarmed into the U.S. Capitol. “The President bears responsibility for these tragic events,” the senator said in a statement after the vote. “The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
In his Fox appearance, Graham also said he supports a 9/11-style commission to investigate what led to last month’s deadly riot. He said the commission could help prevent a similar event.
“I’d like to know, did the Capitol Hill police inform the House sergeant at arms and the Senate sergeant at arms the day before the attack that they needed more troops?” Graham asked. “We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again.”
“Could the president have done more? Yes,” Graham said. “Did he incite this riot by his speech? Absolutely not. If Donald Trump’s speech is going to be seen as incitement by a politician to call violence about every Democrat and Republican up here is in trouble but I’d like to know that. I’d like to know did the Capitol Hill police inform the House sergeant at arms and the Senate sergeant at arms the day before the attack that they needed more troops? So I want to look at all of it.”