WASHINGTON, D.C. — With Republicans holding onto a small majority in the Senate, and the Constitution’s bar for removal from office being set at two-thirds of that body voting to convict, it would seem that President Donald Trump will escape his impeachment trial with an acquittal, likely along strictly partisan lines. Though Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican himself, told reporters he’s “very likely” to vote to allow more witnesses and documents to presented as evidence, he is but only one GOP senator. It would take at least three more joining Romney to get to the simple majority needed to open the door to testimony from key witnesses Trump has blocked from testifying.
One senator who is highly unlikely to side against Trump is Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Sen. Graham used to be one of Trump’s harshest and most outspoken critics, particularly when he was trying to win the Republican nomination against Trump. By the time Graham’s friend Sen. John McCain died, however, all the times Graham called Trump a racist, dangerous con man seemed to evaporate into the ether, and what was left was a man who has stayed by Trump’s side through thick and thin, particularly during the impeachment proceedings against the president.
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Just a couple of days ago, Graham seemed to blame press coverage of the president for his highly unusual behavior that some would label “unpresidential” if not “unconstitutional.” Graham made the argument that Trump has been fighting against a hostile press his whole presidency, which made him wary to accept the truth about who interfered in the 2016 election in an effort to help him win. Trump has seemed particularly interested in ignoring the conclusions of the intelligence community and instead pushing the Russian-backed conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not the Kremlin interfered, and on Hillary Clinton’s behalf, not Trump’s.
Heretofore, there has been no credible evidence presented to back up that assertion. Below, see Graham making his argument about the press playing a part in Trump’s mental state and decision making process.
Here's @LindseyGrahamSC dodging @AndrewFeinberg's question about what legitimate foreign policy purpose Trumpworld's demand that Zelensky go on CNN and announce an investigation into Joe Biden could possibly have served pic.twitter.com/vIpLv700X2
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 24, 2020
This morning, Graham appeared on Fox News and reiterated his belief that the press is just as culpable for Trump’s attempts to extort Ukraine as Trump himself is. Sen. Graham doubled-down on and even expanded his theory. He accused the media of “using Trump’s own words accurately against him” and “unfairly reporting the illegal things he does as soon as they find out about them.” Graham said Trump, as president, has a right to “have his feelings and ego coddled and swaddled and protected.”
“This president’s feelings have been hurt over and over again by people treating him not even a fraction as badly as we treated Obama,” Graham said. “President Trump is a bully, there’s no denying that. But a small portion of a small portion of the American people chose to make that bully their emperor God king, and everyone knows when you hurt a bully’s feelings, he acts out. So, if you think about it in one way, it’s kind of all your fault, all you jerks in the mainstream press, for him abusing his power and trying to cheat in our election. Shame on him? Maybe. But shame on you? Oh chicken-hell-yeah.”
Senator Graham theorized that if the press had been “nicer” to Trump, the president wouldn’t have felt such enormous pressure to extort the new Ukrainian president.
“If the media were nicer to Trump, he wouldn’t have tried to extort Ukraine into helping him cheat,” Graham insisted. “You hurt his feelings and then he broke the law. It’s just that simple.”
Graham, choosing not to defend Trump’s actions, instead pilloried the media for reporting on them.
“Why couldn’t y’all just ignore his criminal activity? Why couldn’t you just turn a blind eye to it,” Graham asked rhetorically. “We’re not talking about a tan suit, or French mustard on a hamburger here, folks. Those are the exact high crimes and misdemeanors the framers warned us against and gave us the impeachment power to stop. But foreign influence on our elections? Sure, they wrote about it extensively, but on the other hand…HEY WHAT’S THAT OVER THERE?!”
Graham pointed somewhere off screen and ran away from the interview, throwing his mic pack and remote earpiece down on the ground as he fled the scene.
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Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.