Despite the fact that Senate Republicans made sure to block a possible conviction against former President Donald Trump for impeachment, which he faced for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol, it appears some members of the GOP are still fuming over the fact that the trial happened in the first place. Among them is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who, in an appearance on the conservative television network Fox News, aired his grievances against the Democratic party and went as far as to infer that Republicans might actually actively work to impeach a current member of the White House administration: Graham’s former senatorial colleague Vice President Kamala Harris.
As media outlets like The Independent reported, during a Feb. 14, 2021, appearance on Fox News, Graham said on air that if Republicans seized control of the House in the 2022 midterm election, they would, per the logic of Democrats regarding Trump’s own second impeachment trial, go after Harris for a tweet she made in June 2020 that was linked to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a non-profit that “pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing,” per the organization’s website. But is there any credence to what Graham said on Fox News? And is it possible that if so, House Republicans will try to impeach Harris? Read on to find out.
Lindsey Graham said Democrats opened 'Pandora's box' for a possible vice presidential impeachment
During an interview on Fox News, Senator Lindsey Graham criticized the “model” — or rather, argument and evidentiary foundation — Democratic lawmakers of the House and the Senate used to enact ex-President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, which the Senate subsequently shut down after voting for Trump’s acquittal on Feb. 13, 2021. As mainstream media publications like The Independent and The New York Post noted, Graham then levied this criticism against the Democrats and those who supported Trump’s impeachment, like Representative Liz Cheney, by attempting to apply it to a tweet made by Vice President Kamala Harris before she was sworn into office.
Speaking of the basis for Trump’s impeachment — namely, that Trump allegedly, actively incited the violent insurrection at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021, by urging them to overturn the November 2020 election results by force, using phrases like “fight like hell” and “take back our country” before directing them to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” — Graham then turned the tables on Harris.
Calling the trial “an affront to rule of law” that “opened Pandora’s box to future presidents,” per The Independent, Graham then stated that “if you use this model, I don’t know How Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House,” referring to the 2022 midterm election. And according to Graham, the basis for this relies on a single tweet.
Lindsey Graham equated the Capitol Hill insurrection to BLM protests
In his Fox News appearance, Lindsey Graham’s logic for a possible impeachment of Vice President Kamala Harris hinged on a tweet Harris posted to her account in 2020. The tweet itself was a simple message and included a link to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. “If you’re able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” Harris tweeted in June 2020, following the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police officers using unnecessary and excessive force. At the time of the tweet in question, Harris had not yet been nominated to join current President Joe Biden’s election ticket as his running mate, per The Independent.
The apparent logic of Graham’s reasoning is seemingly that simply tweeting the link was also a form of incitement, despite the fact that protestors from organizations such as the Black Lives Matter movement were largely engaging in peaceful protests and did not attempt to actively harm or possibly execute members of Congress and higher officers in the White House administration at the time, like then-Vice President Mike Pence. Though the majority of the protestors who participated in the 2020 summer protests in Minneapolis and who were arrested for their participation had no criminal records, four people who received a non-cash bail through MFF of were suspects or ex-convicts who had committed violent crimes, per The New York Post.
Some called Lindsey Graham's argument 'ridiculous'
Though Lindsey Graham’s attempt to construct an analogy between the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill right-wing insurrection and the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 might have held for Fox News viewers, others found them to be tenuous at best, with the White House opting not to address Graham’s remarks, per Newsweek. Media outlets like The Week went as far as to call Graham’s “threat” an argument that is “ridiculous on its face,” adding that “Graham’s scenario assumes that GOP leaders would happily risk the political blowback that would surely come from a nakedly frivolous impeachment launched simply to avenge Trump.”
Adding to the mix is, as The New York Times noted in January 2021, that attempts by conservatives to compare the Jan. 6 riot to Black Lives Matter protests is seemingly rooted in attempting to explain away the destruction insurrectionists caused within the Capitol Building, a major point of condemnation made by Republican lawmakers during the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020, despite the fact that major coverage at the time revealed that incidents of looting during BLM protests were highly exaggerated, exceedingly rare in their occurrence, and isolated, per Vox and The Guardian.
Lindsey Graham has talked about impeaching Kamala Harris before
Unfortunately for Vice President Kamala Harris, this isn’t the first time Lindsey Graham has threatened Harris on air with the possibility of a vice presidential impeachment. Per The New York Post, Graham floated the same scenario on another Fox News segment with Sean Hannity in early February 2021. “What more could you do to incite future violence, than to pay the bail of the people who broke up the shops and beat up the cops,” Graham said at the time to Hannity. ”How’s that not inciting future violence? Be careful what you wish for, my Democratic colleagues, be careful what you wish for.”
As The New York Post noted, Graham, who had been a prominent Donald Trump loyalist throughout Trump’s first presidential term, was one of 57 legislators who voted for Trump’s acquittal during his second impeachment trial, earning the majority vote against 43 senators who opted to convict. The senator also publicly refused to call Trump’s part in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection an “incitement,” telling members of the press after the impeachment verdict that though Trump’s claims of election fraud were “narratives about the election that I think are not sound and not true,” it was not enough to deem them a call-to-arms. “The president is a handful and what happened on 6 January was terrible for the country,” Graham added, per The Post. “But he’s not singularly to blame.”
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