Washington

Trump ‘ready to move on,’ rebuild GOP to retake Congress in 2022: Sen. Graham


Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday that former President Donald Trump will quickly advance past his Senate impeachment acquittal and begin rebuilding the Republican Party to retake the House and Senate in 2022.

Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, spoke to Mr. Trump after the Senate voted Saturday to acquit of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“He’s ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party [and] is excited about 2022,” Mr. Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Graham said the Republican Party cannot rebuild without the former president and his fervent base, a formula he dubbed “Trump plus.”

“I said, ‘Mr. President, this MAGA movement needs to continue. We need to unite the party. Trump plus is the way back in 2022,’” the senator said. “He’s mad at some folks, but I understand that.”

He said the goal must be to win in 2022 and stop what he called the “radical agenda” under President Biden.

“We can’t do that without Donald Trump. So he’s ready to hit the trail and I’m ready to work with him,” Mr. Graham said.

The Senate voted 57-43 in favor of conviction, 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution in impeachment cases.

Seven Senate Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict, and many Republicans who backed acquittal, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, nevertheless blamed Mr. Trump for the riot.

Mr. McConnell said in a speech that Mr. Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the attack but a Senate impeachment trial was the wrong venue to hold accountable a former president.

Mr. Graham said Mr. McConnell’s speech gave Democrats ammo for the 2022 campaign.

“He got a load off his chest, obviously, but unfortunately put a load on the back of Republicans,” Mr. Graham said. “That’s a speech we will see in the 2022 campaigns. … If you’re an incumbent Republican, they’re going to be people asking, ‘Will you support Senator McConnell in the future?”

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