Graham Bearhugs Trump: He’s A ‘Handful’ But We Need Him

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) makes a statement after voting in the Judiciary Committee to move the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court out of committee and on to the Senate for a full vote on October 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Judge Amy Coney Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away in September. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lindsey Graham
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) makes a statement on October 22, 2020. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
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February 17, 2021 9:05 a.m.

If Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is any indication, the Republican Party is far from purging itself of former President Donald Trump, and may even be emboldened in its praise of the ex-president after he was acquitted on Saturday of inciting an insurrection of the U.S. Capitol.

“We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump,” Graham said during a Fox interview on Tuesday night. “If you don’t get that, you’re just not looking. He was a hell of a president on all of the things that conservatives really believe in, it was a consequential presidency.” 

The adulation for the former president comes days after the Trump was acquitted by the Senate of a charge that he had incited the mob who stormed the Capitol last month.

After casting his own not guilty vote, McConnell penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that was published Monday, admonishing the former president for his role in the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

“There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility,” McConnell wrote.

Trump fired back in a statement Tuesday that declared GOP senators “will not win again,” if they stick with the minority leader.

“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” Trump said in a lengthy statement on Tuesday. “He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.”

Graham conceded on Tuesday that while McConnell was “indispensable” to Trump as far as pushing conservative judges into courts and advancing a major tax cut through a narrow GOP majority, Trump remains “the most dominant figure in the Republican Party.”

“I’m sorry what happened on January 6th. He will get his fair share of blame,” Graham said of Trump in a brief mention of the riot. “But to my Republican colleagues in the Senate, let’s try to work together — realize that without President Trump, we are never going to get back into the majority.” 

“And to President Trump, you are going to have to make some changes for you to reach your potential,” Graham said without elaborating on what those changes might include.

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