‘More harm than good’: Lindsey Graham and other Senate Republicans are already lining up against impeachment

‘There are only nine days left in a Trump presidency,’ South Carolina Republican says, urging ‘healing’ for the nation

Griffin Connolly
Monday 11 January 2021 22:49 GMT
US House of Representatives convenes to try to remove Trump from office
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Republican senators are already coming out in opposition to House Democrats’ planned impeachment of Donald Trump, saying that removing the outgoing president from office in the days before he is slated to leave would do “more harm than good” for the social fabric of the country.

Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Roger Wicker of Mississippi both voted to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory last week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, where they interrupted the certification proceedings, menaced lawmakers, and ransacked the building.

But impeaching and removing Mr Trump for his role in encouraging his supporters to march on the capitol is something they just can’t stomach for the country, the senators explained on Monday.

“In light of President Trump’s Thursday statement pledging an orderly transfer power and calling for healing in our nation, a second impeachment will do far more harm than good,” Mr Graham tweeted about the video posted to the president’s since-shuttered @realDonaldTrump account on Thursday promising a peaceful transition to a Biden administration.

However, according to The New York Times, Mr Trump has regrets about releasing that video statement and has vowed not to resign in the coming days nor fade quietly into political oblivion in the coming years.

Still, Mr Graham is taking the president at his word from Thursday’s video, the one statement Mr Trump has released that runs counter to dozens upon dozens of previous sets of remarks urging his supporters to fight back against a “stolen election”. Roughly 90 federal judges – including Supreme Court justices – have ruled against Mr Trump and Republicans’ challenges to the legitimacy of the 2020 elections, saying there is virtually no evidence of widespread fraud.

Mr Graham cited the short timeline of impeachment and a subsequent Senate trial as one of the reasons he would not be supporting it.

“I’m disappointed to hear the House is proceeding with a second impeachment given there are only nine days left in a Trump presidency. It is past time for all of us to try to heal our country and move forward. Impeachment would be a major step backward,” the South Carolina Republican wrote.

Mr Wicker outlined a similar mindset for opposing impeachment.

“In accordance with our Constitution, the orderly transfer of power will occur at noon on January 20. The best way for our country to heal and move past the events of last week would be for this process to continue,” the senator said in a statement on Monday.

Some Republicans have signalled they are open to impeaching and removing the president over the coming days, arguing that he is too unstable to lead the executive branch and must face consequences for his actions over the last several months that fuelled the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

The riots left five people dead, including a US Capitol Police officer.

Politico reported on Monday that as many as 10 House Republicans, including GOP conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, are considering voting in favour of impeachment when it is brought to the floor on Wednesday.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has written in a recounting of Wednesday’s insurrection at the Capitol that Mr Trump “incited [the insurrectionists] in the first place.”

The House impeachment article officially condemns Mr Trump for “incitement to insurrection”.

GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and have both called upon Mr Trump to resign, although their stances on impeachment and removal are unclear.

Senator Ben Sasse has said he would consider removing Mr Trump at an impeachment trial, The Hill reported.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Mr Trump at his first impeachment trial. He has not said how he would vote at a second impeachment trial later this month.

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