Who is the most conservative Louisianian in Congress? (copy) (copy)

U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, speaks in this file photo from 2017.

Baton Rouge Republican Congressman Garret Graves doesn’t think Donald Trump should be removed from office, but said Friday the president should “effectively resign” and keep a low profile for the remaining 12 days in office.

“He effectively needs to resign and what I mean by that is that effectively he will not be out there talking, speaking, wielding the full authority and power of the White House. Maybe technically finding a way to hand over the keys to (Vice President Mike) Pence,” Graves told WWL radio’s Dave Cohen, who was sitting in for host Newell Normand, during an 18-minute interview Friday.

But forcing Trump to leave office earlier either by cabinet secretaries invoking the 25th Amendment or by the U.S. House approving articles of impeachment, which are being drawn up, would just further the divisiveness that led to the rampage at the U.S. Capitol. Four were killed Wednesday when Trump supporters pored into the Capitol hoping to stop the official ratification of state-certified Electoral College votes that made Joe Biden president-elect.

Biden will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20. Trump will not be attending the inauguration, which Graves took as an indication the president wants to calm things and may tone down the rhetoric and perhaps do a better job apologizing.

Graves is one of the six Republicans in Louisiana’s congressional delegation. He voted to accept Arizona’s electoral votes but not Pennsylvania’s in the failed bid to deny Biden the presidency.

He was on the House floor when leadership was abruptly evacuated, police drew their weapons and the doors a president walks through to deliver the annual State of the Union address was rattled by rioters breaking into the chambers.

Graves put a lot of the blame on Trump.

“All of these were just senseless, senseless deaths that should not have happened, which of course goes back to what in my opinion was a big part of this and it was the ridiculous comments the president made on the Ellipse near the White House,” Graves said.

At a rally of supporters held before the congressional ceremony accepting the Electoral Votes, Trump again claimed falsely that the election had been stolen – an “egregious assault on our democracy.” He said some Republican lawmakers were weak for not backing attempts to block acceptance of the Electoral College votes from some states, adding “you will never take back our country with weakness.” He urged followers to head to the Capitol.

Prior to Trump speaking, his lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, addressed the crowd, calling for “trial by combat” and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. shouted to opponents: “We’re coming for you.”

“By conveying to these people that they had the ability to protest this over the top, meaning to protest this into a scenario where the election would be overturned, that was an awful, awful thing that those people did in suggesting that this was even remotely possible,” Graves told WWL.

Email Mark Ballard at mballard@theadvocate.com.