After Donald Trump galvanized his supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham — who was first one of his critics, then a staunch ally — announced that he has had enough. Graham has apparently changed his mind (not for the first time) and decided to pull out all of his last trump cards to protect the former President ahead of his second impeachment trial. “Trump and I, we’ve had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way,” he said on the Senate floor. “All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.” Now, the conservative senator is advising Trump as he forms his legal team, threatening to involve the FBI in the trial, and warning that Republicans will shift focus on… Kamala Harris?
“If you’re going to pursue this, and you wanna start calling witnesses, and you want to drag this thing out, it would be fair to have Kamala Harris’ tape play where she bailed people out of jail,” he told Sean Hannity on Tuesday night. “What more could you do to incite violence than to pay the bail of the people who broke up the shops and beat up the cops?” (It seems Graham's memory has lapsed and he has forgotten about the thousands of Trump supporters who devised an insurrection and attempted to harm members of Congress.)
Graham’s comments also included more vague threats, including “Be careful what you wish for” and a warning against calling witnesses and opening a “Pandora’s box.”
It is unclear what tape Graham is talking about, but Hannity, too, has tried to blame Harris for tweeting her support of the Minnesota Freedom Fund at the height of this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. But it should be noted that Harris' tweet hardly sparked the movement to help bail out protestors: The Minnesota Freedom Fund gained viral recognition before Harris even chimed in, with public figures like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Seth Rogen encouraging their followers to donate and “match” chains taking over Twitter and Instagram.
It should come as no surprise, though, that Graham is pulling out his last Trump cards and using Harris as a bargaining chip. Before Trump was elected, Graham called him a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” and “unfit for office”; he even told him to go to hell. But throughout his presidency, Graham became one of Trump’s most notable supporters in the Senate, defending him at every turn and helping him confirm justices like Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. He also regularly gets dinner and hits the golf course with Trump.
Graham himself admitted that Trump’s actions led to the violence on January 6, saying, “It breaks my heart that my friend, a president of consequence, would allow yesterday to happen, and it will be a major part of his presidency.” Still, he doesn't see this as enough reason to impeach the former president and reality star. And now, this odd claim against Harris seems to be a new Republican talking point. A recent Fox News headline reads, “Bail fund backed by Kamala Harris freed same rioter twice – now he's been charged again.”
We could get into the myriad differences between protestors fighting against police brutality and white supremacists storming the Capitol in an attempt to upend democracy, and we could also get into all the harmful ways Trump has weaponized Twitter. But let’s be clear: imploring followers to donate to a popular bail fund is not inciting violence. And Harris also isn’t the one who’s been banned from social media. Just saying.