When Sen. Lindsey Graham appeared on Fox News last night, Donald Trump’s fourth indictment hadn’t yet been handed down, but there was no great mystery as to what was about to happen. It was only a matter of time.
With this in mind, the South Carolina Republican did exactly what he’s been doing for far too long: As The Hill reported, Graham rallied to defend Donald Trump.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday that former President Trump’s fate should be left up to voters instead of “liberal jurisdictions trying to put the man in jail.” Graham said on Fox News’s “Jesse Watters Primetime” that the numerous legal battles Trump is facing is “very unfair,” adding that they will do “a lot of damage to the presidency” over time.
Much of Graham’s rhetoric was stale and predictable. The Republican tried to blur the line between enforcing the law and “weaponizing the law,” as if it were outrageous to see prosecutors compile evidence, work through a grand jury process, and secure indictments against those who’ve been credibly accused of criminal wrongdoing.
But the South Carolinian’s defense featured one line that stood out.
“The American people can decide whether they want him to be president or not,” Graham added. “This should be decided at the ballot box.”
What’s extraordinary about this is the apparent fact that Graham has missed the entire point of the post-election scandal.
“This should be decided at the ballot box“? Well, yes, that tends to be how differences are resolved in democracies. But — and this is the important part — when the American electorate went to ballot boxes and cast votes in 2020, Trump and his cohorts decided not to accept the results. In fact, according to evidence compiled by prosecutors across multiple jurisdictions, the outgoing president decided to try to overturn the election and put illegitimate power in the hands of the candidate who lost.
In other words, the United States tried to decide the former president’s fate at the ballot box, and Trump decided not to care. This isn’t some obscure, tangential point; it’s the foundation of the entire scandal.
During his Fox News appearance, Graham added that holding Trump legally accountable for alleged crimes “is setting a bad precedent.” Evidently, the senator is of the opinion that letting Trump get away with suspected election interference would not set a “bad” precedent.
“What I fear is that you’re changing the way the game is played in America and there’s no going back,” the senator concluded. “We’re in for a very hard time if this becomes the norm.”
What’s amazing is that I’m tempted to use the identical words to make the opposite point. What I fear is that Trump and his GOP cohorts have tried to change the way the game is played in America — by rejecting democracy and discarding election results — and once that happens, there’s no going back.
We really are in for a very hard time if this becomes the norm, whether Lindsey Graham understands this or not.