Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Senate panel moving ahead with Mueller bill despite McConnell opposition Overnight Defense: Lawmakers worry over Syria strategy | Trump's base critical of strikes | Flake undecided on Pompeo | Coast Guard plans to keep allowing transgender members | GOP chair wants to cut B from Pentagon agencies MORE said John Kasich is the best Republican presidential candidate but that he can't win the nomination, which is why the South Carolina Republican is backing Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA DOJ denies reports judicial nominee once called illegal immigrants 'maggots' MORE.

“I think John Kasich would be the best nominee, but he doesn't have a chance,” Graham said during an appearance Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

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“John Kasich's problem is he is an insider in an outsider year and nobody seems to want to buy that,” he added.  

Graham signaled his support for Cruz last week, when news emerged he would be hosting a fundraiser for him. This comes after harsh comments Graham made about his Senate colleague, including while running against the Texas senator in his own White house bid.
 
Graham has argued that while he has differences with Cruz (joking the runner-up in delegates was his "15th choice" in the race), he's the best-positioned Republican other than Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds Pruitt spent K flying aides to Australia to prep for later-canceled visit: report Rosenstein told Trump he is not a target of Mueller probe: report MORE.

"I think he'd make a better president than Trump for damn sure, and I think he'd take the country in a new direction other than Clinton," Graham said. 

Asked if Kasich would make a better president than Cruz, Graham said, "I think so." 

He called Trump a "con man" and blasted the GOP front-runner for his support of waterboarding in the wake of this week's terrorist attacks in Brussels. 
 
"I have differences with Ted Cruz that are well known, but I think we share the same political DNA and at the end of the day I think he's a reliable Republican conservative and Mr. Trump is not," Graham said.

Graham predicted that Republicans "probably will" lose in 2016, saying Trump would be defeated by Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJustice to provide access to Comey memos to GOP lawmakers Justice Dept inspector asks US attorney to consider criminal charges for McCabe: reports 'Homeland' to drop Trump allegories in next season MORE while Cruz represented "a fighting chance" for Republicans.
 
"I'm not going to stand behind a guy that gets David Duke's support," Graham said of Trump. "So it's no longer about winning the election for me, it's trying to salvage a party that I love and conservatism as I know it."