After the violent Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, many Democrats felt that Republicans would denounce the president and vote for impeachment in the House. Only 10 Republicans cast the vote to impeach. The impeachment call now goes to the Senate. Trump continues to have the support of many Republicans despite inciting a mob to attack the Capitol. Count Sen. Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina, among those Republicans who refused to impeach Trump on Wednesday.
His reasoning? If Trump is impeached for inciting the attack on the Capitol, then what’s to stop us from impeaching the country’s first president, George Washington, for owning slaves?
Twitter broke out with responses over this thought.
“Did Washington also incite an insurrection?” Huffington Post White House correspondent S.V. Date tweeted.
Another tweeter answered, “He started the French and Indian War, which bankrupted England, who in turn put pressure on the Colonies for taxes to repay the crown….sewing the seeds for Independence. So yes, yes he did.”
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Washington owned slaves from a young age. He was just 11 when his father Augustine died in 1743, leaving him the owner of 10 slaves. As a young adult, Washington purchased at least eight more slaves in 1755, according to George Washington’s Mount Vernon organization.
Convicting Trump could lead to the impeachment of other former presidents, according to Graham, who described Congress’ impeachment vote as “outrageous misconduct.”
“Any Republican senator, let me be clear, that dares waste one second on this charade, after the president is gone from office, they need to be out of office,” he said, according to The Daily Beast. “Every Republican senator needs to let the raging Democrats talk to themselves, and to tell them to stop wasting the country’s time.”
He later told Sean Hannity on Fox News: ‘To my Republican colleagues, let’s stand up for the idea that post-presidential impeachments are bad for the presidency, bad for the country, and if we go along with it as Republicans, we will destroy the Republican Party. Over time we will destroy the presidency.
“Under this theory, the radical left — if you can impeach a president after they are out of office, why don’t we impeach George Washington?”
Graham’s comments were an about-turn from what he said last week after the Dec. 6 attack. He initially broke with Trump, saying he was “refusing to join a Trump-backed effort to contest Joe Biden‘s electoral college win as the vote was being certified by Congress in the hours after the MAGA riot,” The Daily Mail reported.
At that time Graham told his Senate colleagues, “All I can say is count me out, enough is enough. When it’s over it is over.”
But it didn’t take long for Graham to fall back into Trump’s fold. Graham traveled earlier this week to Texas for Trump’s border wall speech and has been lobbying his fellow Republicans to acquit Trump in an impeachment trial, The Daily Beast reported.
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Twitter responded to Graham’s change of mind: “Graham folded like a lawn chair after a day with Trump. So much for his ten seconds of integrity the other day,” one person tweeted.
Another posted, “Someday we will find out what turned Lindsey. It will not be pretty.”