Senators Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney led a host of Republican congressmen in expressing disagreement with former President Donald Trump over his vow to pardon protesters from the January 6 riot at the Capitol.
Their comments were featured in a column by The Hill which provided quotes from several GOP lawmakers opposed to Trump’s proposal.
Romney (R-UT), who voted last year to impeach Trump on the charge of inciting an insurrection, said the January 6 riot at the Capitol was “an attack on the temple of democracy.”
“The people who violated the law, attacked our law enforcement, and besmirched our nation’s Capitol should be prosecuted according to the law, and certainly should not be pardoned,” Romney insisted.
Graham meanwhile, maintained the idea to pardon those convicted of crimes on January 6 was a flat-out “bad idea.”
“It reinforces violence. The people who defiled the Capitol and took the law in their own hands deserve to be brought to justice,” said Graham (R-SC), who urged police officers at the Capitol to use their guns on protesters.
GOP senators led by Graham slam Trump Jan. 6 pardon promise
“Pardons are given to people who admit misconduct, rehabilitate themselves. They’re not supposed to be used for other purposes,” Graham said. from @alexanderbolton: https://t.co/fLTFUXGfKW
— Emily Brooks (@emilybrooksnews) September 12, 2022
Republicans Not Thrilled With Donald Trump Promising Pardons
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Other Republican lawmakers aside from Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney offered their take on Donald Trump’s promise to pardon January 6 rioters.
Senator Mike Rounds’ (R-SC) commentary comes off nearly identical to any Democrat you could possibly imagine, though he contends Trump, should he run and win in 2024, would absolutely have the right to move forward on the matter.
“If he were elected, he would have a constitutional ability to do it,” said Rounds. “I would disagree with it. I think there was insurrection and I think these folks need to be punished.”
“I was there. This was truly violent. People were injured, people were killed,” he added. “I have very little mercy for the individuals that were involved in that activity that day.”
The only person who was actually killed that day was unarmed Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a Capitol Police officer. Several others died from non-violent causes.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune (SD) chimed in, saying the January 6 protesters “need to be held accountable” while Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) called the pardons “problematic” for him “on a moral level.”
The next time somebody in Congress gets accused of operating based on morals will be the first time.
TRUMP: ‘RINO’ Lindsey Graham “doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about” when the Senator says it would be inappropriate for Trump to potentially pardon Jan 6 defendants. @SchmittNYC pic.twitter.com/wrJeHTOWaF
— Newsmax (@newsmax) February 2, 2022
A Pardon and an Apology
Not everybody caved to the outrage mob when it came to Donald Trump’s comments about pardoning some of the people involved in the Capitol riot.
Senator Josh Hawley took a wait-and-see approach, noting it’s “been a massive prosecutorial effort” not on par with the level of prosecutions pursued during the race riots in 2020.
“I think that the folks who committed crimes, particularly violent crimes, on that day ought to be prosecuted,” Hawley said. “I think the question becomes, are there people who’ve been caught up in this dragnet who, for instance, didn’t know that they were trespassing?”
Hawley added that there is “undeniably a double standard” when it comes to the relentless pursuit of Trump supporters as opposed to Black Lives Matter protesters who were relatively free to riot across cities for months on end – even during pandemic lockdowns.
Trump says if he wins in 2024 that he will issue full pardons and apologies to “many” of the January 6 rioters. https://t.co/l75i4DKdmo
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 1, 2022
In an interview with conservative radio host Wendy Bell earlier this month, Donald Trump vowed that should he run and win the election in 2024, he’d not only issue pardons to some of the January 6 defendants, but they’d be getting an apology from the federal government.
“I mean full pardons with an apology to many,” said Trump.
“It’s very much on my mind. It’s a disgrace what they’ve done to them,” he added. “What they’ve done to these people, it’s disgraceful.”
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