Several Republican members of the United States Senate have spoken out against one of President Donald Trump’s most recent campaign promises, with even some senators who are usually supportive of his agenda voicing their concerns about his promise to pardon all of the protesters from January 6th, 2021.
As reported by The Hill, one such senator is Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is generally considered a Trump ally. But hen asked for his thoughts on Trump’s promise, Graham said that “pardons are given to people who admit misconduct, rehabilitate themselves. They’re not supposed to be used for other purposes.”
“I don’t think potential candidates should hold pardons out as a promise,” said Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) “It’s somewhat problematic for me on a moral level and an ethical level — sort of like promising other giveaways to particular individuals. I prefer avoiding those kinds of things.”
Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) openly criticized the idea due to his dislike of the protesters themselves, falsely accusing all of them of committing “insurrection.”
“If he were elected, he would have a constitutional ability to do it,” Rounds noted. “I would disagree with it. I think there was insurrection and I think these folks need to be punished. I was there. This was truly violent. People were injured, people were killed. I have very little mercy for the individuals that were involved in that activity that day.” What Rounds failed to note is that the only person who was murdered on January 6th was a Trump supporter, U.S. Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by Capitol Police officer Michael Byrd at point-blank range, despite the fact that Babbitt was unarmed.
Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), the Senate Republican Whip and thus the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate, similarly described all of the peaceful protesters as criminals, saying that “the only people that get pardoned are people who are charged with crimes. If they were charged with crimes, they ought to be prosecuted like everybody else. The rule of law applies. If people broke laws, they need to be held accountable.”
Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the protesters were peaceful, many of them have been held in solitary confinement in Washington D.C. jails since that day, with some now having been incarcerated for over 600 days with no end in sight due to no trial dates being set yet.
The reactions were sparked by Trump’s comments on September 1st, during an interview with conservative radio host Wendy Bell. President Trump not only promised to pardon the protesters, but also revealed that he had been providing financial support to some of them. He said that, if he was President again, he would issue “full pardons with an apology to many” of the prisoners.