Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) distanced himself from former President Donald Trump’s suggestion that he would pardon January 6 rioters if re-elected, saying the comments are “inappropriate.”
Trump made the comments during a Texas rally on Saturday, where he said he would treat the Capitol rioters "fairly."
“If I run and I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly,” Trump told the crowd. “We will treat them fairly, and if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”
A day later, Graham was asked about the comments in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation”.
“No, I don't want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol,” Graham said.
“There are other groups with causes that may want to go down to the violent path that these people get pardoned,” he added.
“I think it's inappropriate. ... I don't want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future,” Graham added.
He also said that he did not like it when Vice President Kamala Harris "and her associates and the people that work for her, her staffers, raised money to bail out the rioters who hit cops in the head and burned down stores" after sometimes violent demonstrations in the summer of 2020.
"So I don't want to do anything from raising bail to pardoning people who take the law into their own hands because it will make more violence more likely. I want to deter people who did what on Jan. 6. And those who did it, I hope they go to jail and get the book thrown at them because they deserve it," Graham stated.
More than 700 people have been arrested as part of the investigation into the riot last January 6 that left five people dead.
Earlier this month, the founder of the far-right group Oath Keepers and 10 others were indicted for seditious conspiracy in assault on the Capitol.
Trump has repeatedly spoken out against the prosecution of those who took part in the riot, but had yet to put pardons on the table before his Saturday rally.
The former president has been accused of stoking the Capitol violence with a fiery speech claiming election fraud, and was impeached by the House of Representatives on a charge of incitement to insurrection. However, the Senate acquitted Trump after it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict him.