Former President Donald Trump lashed out at longtime ally Sen. Lindsey Graham for opposing pardons for Capitol rioters, The Washington Post reports.
"Another thing we'll do, and so many people have been asking me about it, if I run and if I win we will treat those people from January 6 fairly," Trump said during a rally in Conroe, Texas last week. "And if it requires pardons we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly."
Trump also suggested that he would come to the defense of former aides targeted by the House select committee investigating the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.
"What that unselectcommittee is doing and what the people are doing that are running those prisons it’s a disgrace," Trump said. "We will treat them fairly and we will take care of the people of this country, all of the people of this country."
Graham, one of Trump’s closest allies in the Senate, pushed back on Trump’s remarks.
“I don't want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol,” he told CBS News. “There are other groups with causes that may want to go down to the violent path that these people get pardoned. I think it's inappropriate. ... I don't want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future.”
Other Republicans also criticized the comments.
“I would not be in favor of shortening any of the sentences for any of the people who pleaded guilty to crimes," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The election of 2020 was decided Dec. 14 of 2020 when the Electoral College certified the winner of the election. What we saw here on January the 6th was an effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another, which has never happened before in our country.”
Trump hit back at Graham during an interview with Newsmax on Tuesday.
“Well, Lindsey Graham’s wrong. I mean, Lindsey’s a nice guy, but he’s a RINO,” Trump said, referring to Graham as a “Republican in name only.”
“Lindsey Graham doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about if he says that,” he added.
Graham responded by doubling down on his earlier comments.
“For us to remain a nation of laws, not men, we must speak with one voice when it comes to politically motivated violence,” Graham said. “All Americans are entitled to have a speedy trial and their day in court, but those who actively engage in violence for whatever political cause must be held accountable and not be forgiven.”