'Reads more like a threat': Washington Post slams Lindsey Graham for floating pro-Trump riots
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina speaking at the Iowa Republican Party's 2015 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The Washington Post editorial board this week slammed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for saying there would be "riots in the streets" if former President Donald Trump were indicted.

While Graham's talk of riots was constructed to read like a passive prediction about what would happen if Trump were criminally prosecuted, the Post argued that the way it was delivered "reads more like a threat" than anything else.

"In this case, giving a forecast on national television might make it more likely that this vision of the future comes to pass," the editors wrote. "Mr. Trump promptly shared the clip on his platform Truth Social, which he has peppered with myriad ravings about the search of his property of late. Meanwhile, menacing messages from angry supporters are inundating the National Archives, and one man attempted to attack an FBI facility. The Jan. 6 insurrection showed the country how readily some voters will interpret a leader’s words as a call to arms — and then action."

The editors noted that Graham, as a former prosecutor, is knowledgeable enough to understand how such remarks raise risks of political violence, and thus cannot claim to have been speaking off the cuff.

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The Post concluded by noting that Graham's rhetoric has marked a pattern of increasingly violent rhetoric coming from Trump and his supporters.

"References to riots, civil war, banana republics or so much else we’ve heard in recent weeks make it more dangerous for the government to uphold the rule of law," they wrote. "His reckless words and others like them are cause for the greatest concern."