COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s senior U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham put more distance between him and ally President Donald Trump after a violent mob of hundreds broke into the Capitol Wednesday, storming chambers on behalf of the president’s false assertions of widespread election fraud.
And Graham once again threw water on his Senate colleagues’ attempts to delay the Electoral College vote, certifying President-elect Joe Biden the Nov. 3 winner.
“Enough’s enough. We gotta end it,” Graham said.
On the Senate floor, the Seneca Republican said he and Trump have “had a hell of a journey” over Trump’s one term.
“I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it,” Graham said right before a majority of the Senate voted to kill an attempt to object to Arizona’s electoral votes. “From my point of view, he’s been a consequential president. But today, first thing you’ll see. All I can say is, count me out. Enough is enough. I’ve tried to be helpful.”
Over Trump’s term, Graham has been one of the president’s most loyal supporters, using his office to help the president’s cause including with respect to the elections. Graham said he would ask the Justice Department to investigate election fraud allegations in Pennsylvania that were quickly recanted by the accuser and asked the Georgia secretary of state to take a fresh look at votes — a call the top Georgia election official said implied he wanted him to throw out ballots.
Graham called those allegations “ridiculous.”
Hundreds of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol Wednesday, sending the entire area into lockdown and members of Congress, including Vice President Mike Pence, to hunker down. Several rioters were injured and one woman was killed.
Trump had rejected pleas from members of his own party late Wednesday to demand the mob stand down.
He instead tweeted support for the rioters and recorded a video in which he asked rioters to go home, but then reiterated his unfounded fraud claims and called the rioters “very special.”
Graham said he “prayed” Biden would lose, but, he added, “he won.”
“He’s the legitimate president of the United States,” he said. “I cannot convince people, certain groups, by my words. But I will tell you by my actions that I, above all others in this body need to say this, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the president and vice president of the United States on Jan. 20.”
Maayan Schechter, The State