Sen. Lindsey Graham, who earlier this month had criticized President Donald Trump over his demands to overturn his election loss, expressed more support for him on Sunday – though he did warn the president not to pardon insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“To seek a pardon of these people would be wrong … I think it would destroy President Trump, and I hope we don’t go down that road,” Graham said on the Fox News program “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Overall, Graham was more positive when he was asked if he had a message for Trump.
“Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time,” he said on the Fox program that Trump is known to watch. “You’re the most important figure in the Republican Party. You can shape the direction of the party, keep your movement alive.”
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Trump and Graham have had a notoriously volatile relationship.
During the 2016 Republican primaries, defeated candidate Graham warned that the party would be “destroyed” if it nominated Trump for the presidency.
After Trump became president, however, Graham became one of his most outspoken congressional supporters.
Earlier this month, Graham rejected Trump’s pressure and voted to count Joe Biden’s electoral votes and seal his victory as president-elect. Graham also denounced the attack by the president’s supporters on the Capitol, a riot that killed at least five people.
“All I can say, is count me out, enough is enough,” Graham said after the riot.
Less than a week later, however, Graham accompanied Trump on a trip to South Texas for a speech on immigration.
In November, a Georgia elections official accused Graham of pressuring him to find ways to invalidate some Biden votes; Graham denied the allegation, calling it “ridiculous.”
The U.S. House voted last week to impeach Trump on charges of inciting the insurrection. Ten House Republicans voted in favor of impeachment, but Graham criticized the action.