Graham: 'The most potent force in the Republican Party is President Trump'

Coming off his acquittal, Former President Donald Trump still has lasting influence over GOP, says Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Sen. Lindsey Graham says that Republicans have the votes to confirm a SCOTUS nominee
Posted at 8:39 PM, Feb 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-14 20:39:39-05

WASHINGTON D.C. — Former President Donald Trump was the first president in history to be impeached twice, now he’s the first to be acquitted twice and that vote could signal his influence over the GOP.

A rather quick Senate trial came to an end Saturday, the final vote tallying 57-43.

"The United States Senate decided to protect our constitutional way of life and not go down the road of endless impeachments.” Defense Attorney Bruce Castor Jr. said after the ruling.

Although it was technically the most bipartisan vote for conviction in history, only seven Republicans found Mr. Trump guilty, the majority of GOPers banding together in support of their party’s former president.

"A cowardly group of Republicans, who apparently have no options, because they were afraid to defend their job,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California said of those who voted to acquit.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky among those voting to acquit the former president, but just minutes later on the Senate floor he blamed him for the violence.

“There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s beliefs showing a rift in the Republican Party, as eyes shift towards 2022 and beyond.

“I like [Sen. McConnell], he worked well with President Trump. I think his speech is an outlier regarding how Republicans feel about all this,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina said on FOX News Sunday.

“Trump is the most vibrant member of the Republican Party. The Trump movement is alive and well. All I can say is that the most potent force in the Republican Party is President Trump,” Graham added.

"Donald Trump is more likely to be a candidate for President in 2024 than Joe Biden, and everyone on both sides knows it," tweeted ardent Trump supporter Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida.

Others, including Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, don’t see it that way.

“He violated his oath of office in what Liz Cheney called the greatest portrayal of a president's oath of office in history and those memories and those police officers screams will be forever etched in the memories of Americans. He is done,” Klobuchar said.

While Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate, the vote does not give him immunity from facing potential criminal charges or other legal challenges down the line.