Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on Sunday pushed back on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) remarks last week declaring that the Republican Party can’t move forward without former President Trump, amid House Republicans threatening to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) for her vehement criticism of the former president.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cassidy was asked about Graham’s remarks to Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week. After saying that he has “always liked” Cheney, Graham painted the third-ranking Republican as a major obstacle for the GOP heading into next year’s midterm elections after she has repeatedly bucked Trump on his election fraud falsehoods.
“I’ve always liked Liz Cheney, but she’s made a determination that the Republican Party can’t grow with President Trump,” Graham said Thursday. “I’ve determined that we can’t grow without him.”
Cassidy replied by first bragging about the Trump administration’s policies and arguing that some Republicans still see the former president as “the messenger” of them.
Cassidy, who was one of the handful of Republicans that voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” earlier this year, went on to refute Graham’s idea of a GOP that can’t move forward without the former president.
“If you look at polls, there is a whole group of folks that agree with Liz Cheney and so for us to win in 2022 and 2024, we need everybody,” Cassidy said. “We need those who feel as Liz. We need those who feel as Lindsey.”
Cassidy reiterated that the GOP’s focus should be on policies in order to regain the majority in Congress next year.
“Now ultimately it’s about the policies. You see that Cheney, Cassidy support those policies. Those policies are our ticket to victory,” Cassidy said. “And I think those policies will bring us back in 2022.”
Cassidy has been outspoken against the notion that the GOP should center its identity around Trump in the aftermath of the deadly Capitol insurrection that the former president incited.
Pressed on whether the Republican Party can move forward without Trump during an interview on CNN hours before the former president delivered remarks at CPAC in late February, Cassidy — who was censured by the Louisiana Republican Party for voting in favor of Trump’s impeachment — stated that CPAC is “not the entirety of the Republican Party” and that the GOP needs to listen to voters to win in 2022 and 2024.
“We have to listen to the voters, not just those who really like President Trump, but also those who perhaps are less sure,” Cassidy told CNN. “If we do, if we speak to the voters who are less sure who went from President Trump to President Biden, we win. If we don’t, we lose. That is a reality that we have to confront.”
Watch Cassidy’s remarks below:
NEW: Can the GOP grow without Donald Trump? @SenBillCassidy says "for us to win in 2022 and 2024, we need everybody."
"If you look at polls, there is a whole group of folks that agree with Liz Cheney. … We need those who feel as Liz. We need those who feel as Lindsey." pic.twitter.com/tgLZDIsONQ
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 9, 2021