Donald Trump 'excited for 2022' after acquittal, ready to move on and rebuild GOP: Lindsey Graham
Former president Donald Trump has survived yet another impeachment trial in the Senate and has given indication about returning to public life to rally for the Republican Party soon. Making a statement after the vote that acquitted him, the former commander-in-chief offered a few hints but was defiant in telling his supporters that their movement “has only just begun”. Trump, who skipped the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden last month and told the media that he will be back in some form in the future, looked to be in danger of getting kicked out of public life permanently had he got convicted in the Senate trial but since that has not happened, he and his loyalists are setting their eyes on new possibilities.
Trump’s return to an active political life could create new challenges for the GOP which is not only deeply divided over the support for Trump but also faced with a steep challenge of regaining control of the Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024. Trump said post his impeachment that he has much to share with the people and that could include his decision to run for the White House in 2024.
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Among those Republican faces who slammed the impeachment procedure is Senator Lindsey Graham who on Sunday, February 14, said the latter is “excited” about the crucial midterm polls next year. The veteran senator, who served as the chair of the Senate judiciary committee till early this month, said on 'Fox News Sunday': “I spoke to him last night; he was grateful to his lawyers. He appreciated the help that all of us provided. You know, he's ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party. He’s excited about 2022. And I’m going to go down to talk with him next week, play a little golf in Florida. And I said, ‘Mr. President this MAGA movement needs to continue, we need to unite the party’.”
"Donald Trump is the most vibrant member of the Republican Party. The Trump movement is alive and well. People believe he brought change to Washington..." - @LindseyGrahamSC pic.twitter.com/2kVIdMzVBg— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) February 14, 2021
Graham was also critical of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who though voted to acquit the former president, but also made it clear that he is in no mood to make peace with him especially in the wake of the January 6 riots at the Capitol. “I think Sen. McConnell’s speech, he got a load off his chest, but unfortunately put a load on the back of Republicans,” Graham said in the Sunday interview. McConnel held Trump “practically and morally responsible” for his supporters’ attack on the seat of the Congress that resulted in clashes that left five dead. He also said Trump could still face criminal prosecution for his acts.
“That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns, I would imagine if you’re a Republican running in Georgia, Arizona, New Hampshire where we have a chance to take back the Senate, they may be playing Sen. McConnell’s speech and asking you about it if you’re a candidate,” Graham said.
'We need Trump Plus'
Graham, who voted to acquit the former president, said the Trump movement is alive and called the former president the “most potent force in the Republican Party”. “We need Trump Plus,” he added. He condemned the January 6 riots but said it was not right to only blame Trump for that and accused the Democrats of watching the country suffer from the sidelines. He also said the Republican Party is tired of the Democrats' "hypocrisy".
That the Republicans were faced with a challenge over Trump was evident from the words of Alex Conant, a GOP strategist and aide to Florida Senator Marco Rubio during his presidential race against Trump in 2016. "It's hard to imagine Republicans winning national elections without Trump supporters anytime soon,” Reuters quoted Conant as saying.
“The party is facing a real Catch 22: it can’t win with Trump but it’s obvious it can’t win without him either,” he added.