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Lindsey Graham breaks from Trump on Jan. 6 rioters, signals support for potential Biden SCOTUS pick

"Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America," Graham said, addressing Biden's promise to nominate an African American female Supreme Court justice.

Published: January 31, 2022 3:40pm

Updated: January 31, 2022 10:29pm

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, an outspoken supporter of former President Donald Trump, said it was wrong for Trump to offer to pardon Jan. 6 rioters if reelected and signaled support for potential Biden Supreme Court pick South Carolina U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs.

Childs is one of several African American female candidates Biden is considering to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the high court, in keeping with a campaign promise to reserve the next vacancy for a member of that demographic group.

"There is no affirmative action component if you pick her," Graham said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America."

"I can't think of a better person for President Biden to consider to the Supreme Court," Graham said of Childs. "She has wide support in our state. She's considered to be a fair-minded, highly gifted jurist. She is one of the most decent people I've ever met."

Graham added that Republicans have made a "real effort" to "recruit women and people of color to make the party look more like America."

"Affirmative action is picking somebody not as well qualified for past wrongs," he said.

Just the News asked Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz if he supports Biden's pledge to only nominate a female African American woman to the Supreme Court. Cruz's office pointed to a statement he made on Twitter about the nomination process on Sunday.

"The far Left doesn't care about the individual, they will pigeonhole you, & they will discriminate based on race," he wrote.

During a video interview embedded in the tweet, Cruz said Biden's pledge is "offensive" because he's essentially sending a message to 94% of Americans.

"He's saying to 94% of Americans, 'I don't give a damn about you. You are ineligible.' And he's also saying, it's actually an insult to black women," Cruz said. "If you came and said, 'I'm going to put the best jurist on the court' and he looked at a number of people and ended up nominating a black woman he could credibly say, 'OK, I'm nominating the person who is most qualified.' He's not even pretending to say that. He's saying, 'If you're a white guy, tough luck. If you're a white woman, tough luck. You don't qualify.'"

Democrats have 50 votes in the split Senate. Without any votes from Republicans, Vice President Kamala Harris could be the tie-breaking vote that confirms Biden's choice for the Supreme Court.

In the same "Face the Nation" interview, Graham also criticized Trump for stating that he would pardon those charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

"No I don't want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol," Graham said. "There are other groups with causes that may want to go down the violent path if these people get pardoned."

Trump had said he would treat the Jan. 6th rioters fairly.

"And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly," he said.

Just the News also asked Cruz's office about Trump's Jan. 6 comments but did not receive a response. 

Other Republicans, including New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, spoke out against Trump's statement about the Jan. 6 rioters.

"The folks that were part of the riots and, frankly, the assault on the U.S. Capitol, have to be held accountable," he said on CNN. "There is a rule of law."

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