Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) attempted to defend his friendship with former President Donald Trump in an interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios, but only succeeded in proving his own lack of a spine.
The interview, which aired on HBO Sunday, included Swan asking the South Carolina Republican if he really thought Trump should run again in 2024 in light of how his presidency led to to the GOP losing control of the White House and Senate:
“I just don’t understand how you could — you don’t really believe that, do you? You’re just BSing so he doesn’t go off and form a third party?”
“A third party would be a disaster.”
“I know it! That’s what you’re doing. You’re stroking his ego.”.
The senator tried to clarify his true feelings about Trump running in the next presidential election, saying that he hopes the most electable person is the nominee in 2024.
Asked about the storming of the U.S. Capitol by thousands of pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6, Graham attempted to explain how he could both condemn the former president for the riots and still remain good friends with him:
“Donald Trump was my friend before the riot. And I’m trying to keep a relationship with him after the riot. Uh, I still consider him a friend. What happened was a dark day in American history and we’re going to move forward, so here’s what you need to know about me. I’m going to continue — I want us to continue the policies that I think will make America strong. I believe that the best way for the Republican Party to do that is with Trump, not without Trump.”
When Swan reminded Graham that Trump is still falsely claiming he beat President Joe Biden, it’s quite clear that Biden won in a landslide, which drew this reply from the senator:
“And I still tell him every day that he wants to listen that the main reason he probably lost in Arizona is beating on the dead guy called John McCain.”
But why did a man as toxic and polarizing as Trump win the GOP nomination in the first place? Graham’s answer was incredibly revealing, and not exactly flattering to the former president:
“Mitt Romney didn’t do it. John McCain didn’t do it. There’s something about Trump. There’s a dark side and there’s some magic there. What I’m trying to do is harness the magic. To me, Donald Trump is sort of a cross between Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan and P.T. Barnum. I mean, it’s just this bigger-than-life deal that could make the Republican Party something that nobody else I know could make it.”
Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator, was an unrepentant racist until the day he died. Ronald Reagan was an actor turned huckster whose main talent was giving a good speech. And P.T. Barnum was fond of promoting hoaxes and creating the Barnum & Bailey Circus. He famously remarked, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
There certainly is a sucker born every minute. And the vast majority of them are Republicans. Right, Lindsey?
Here’s highlights of the Swan-Graham interview:
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