Legal and political experts are responding to U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s Sunday letter to incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with disgust and anger. Graham, an unwavering and unyielding devotee of President Donald Trump, slammed Democrats and those who support convicting Trump in a Senate trial after the House’s historic second impeachment of the outgoing president.
In his letter Graham argues against convicting Trump for incitement of insurrection in part because Vice President Mike Pence “stood in the breach of unconstitutional calls for him to overturn the 2020 election.” Those unconstitutional calls came from President Trump. His insurrectionist supporters then went to the Capitol hunting for the vice president, chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!”
He also says convicting Trump would delay “the healing of this great nation.” Experts call that argument false, and say that holding Trump to account is the only way for the nation to heal.
The response to Graham’s letter was immediate, and on social media few held back their punches.
“We are witnessing the largest under-reaction to a violent insurrection led by a sitting president in the history of humankind, folks,” said Condé Nast Legal Affairs Editor and Research Director Luke Zaleski. “It’s cause the Republican Party/trump are experts at one thing: Denying the premise of reality and convincing people anti-government is government.”
“No incitement is the new ‘no collusion,'” Zaleski continued. “A goalpost being moved. Trump fomented a riot that served as a coup attempt. It was likely planned and it was definitely encouraged. It was for him. It was to stop his loss. It was organized and spontaneous and stochastic. It was violent.”
Popehat, the popular law blog run by Ken White, tweeted a more succinct response.
You’re a historically loathsome figure.
— LightlyThreatenHat (@Popehat) January 17, 2021
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent suggests Graham is engaging in extortion:
Again, this is basically extortionate: Sorry, no unity until the demands for accountability are dropped. The answer to this is “No. You are the ones who have committed the offense. You don’t get to set one-sided conditions for unity after what you did.” https://t.co/uunuZVA9RC https://t.co/N6FfE6Eeo6
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) January 17, 2021
Former Obama HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary boils that thought down even further:
This is a threat https://t.co/P7OaV7mly4
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) January 17, 2021
Historian Michael Beschloss:
Lindsey Graham, we don’t need any lecture from you about whom “history” will treat “harshly.”
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 17, 2021
If foreign conquerors were marching into Washington DC, Lindsey Graham would probably be out there directing traffic.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 17, 2021
Historian Kevin M. Kruse:
You don’t get to whine about “healing” now after you personally inflicted so many of the wounds.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) January 17, 2021
Democratic strategist and professor Tom Watson:
You just blamed Speaker Pelosi for her own attempted murder. You’re filthy garbage. https://t.co/4snvpoCqOc
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) January 17, 2021
Economist and Dartmouth professor Danny Blanchflower:
Sorry Senator how is Trump healing the nation when a) he refuses to accept he lost b) wont go to the inauguration c) wont meet with the new president d) incited a violent bloody insurrection and riot that killed people? https://t.co/Ssu8vWr9zL
— Danny Blanchflower PhD DLitt (*2) DSc CBE (@D_Blanchflower) January 17, 2021
Yale professor Howard Forman:
Can someone find Lindsey Graham’s similar letter begging his Senate colleagues to NOT commit seditious acts? Or his letter to Trump begging him to accept the results of the free and fair election?
I am having trouble finding it. https://t.co/Ub5N6Dy8ee
— (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) January 17, 2021
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