While you may have considered Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) a typical heartless Republican who supports cutting government support for health care and social services and helped reduced taxation of the wealthy to laughable levels, the inveterate defender of Donald Trump exhibited an unusually deep concern for the mental health of the nation today.
Graham’s worries about the psyches of the U.S. citizenry were evident in his answer to a reporter who asked him whether he would support a move to censure rather than impeach the president for the misdeeds the House inquiry into Trump has revealed.
Q. Censure better outcome than impeachment?
GRAHAM: "…Who am I to advise my Dem colleagues about what to do. Censure would probably gain some bipartisan support…the country going through an impeachment trial would be traumatic and I think we should avoid that if possible…"
— Alan He (@alanhe) December 3, 2019
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Yes, this is the same Lindsey Graham who twenty years ago as a young congressman from South Carolina had this to say about the Republican efforts to impeach then-President Bill Clinton for lying about his sex life:
“Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
At that point in his life, Graham was apparently too wet behind the ears to comprehend the spectacle of the entire population of the country suffering from massive PTSD over a president’s impeachment.
Or, perhaps, he has determined that in the wake of Trump’s election, the very notion of restoring honor and integrity to the presidency is such an impossibility that it is beyond the pale to consider.
The most telling issue raised by Senator Graham’s comments is that by indicating that a censure motion would garner at least a modicum of bipartisan support, Graham is acknowledging that Trump did something worthy of censuring, a rare admission from a member of a Republican party that has circled the wagons around the president to defend him from the consequences of the reality of his own actions.
The senator will likely pay a price when Trump hears that Graham has floated the idea of censure for his “perfect” phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
As for the American public, many of them are already suffering from the trauma that the Trump administration has imposed on the nation by its horrendous foreign and domestic policies, by its desecration of factual reality with a legacy of lies and mistrust, and by its dragging of the political discourse into the nether regions of both civility and rationality.
For this majority of Americans who never voted to install Trump in the White House, impeachment would not be the source of trauma, it would be the cure.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.