Graham: I no longer think Trump is a ‘race-baiting religious bigot’

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham2020 hopefuls skeptical of criminal justice deal with Trump Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Graham: Flynn should lose security clearance MORE (R-S.C.), on Monday, said he no longer believes President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE is a "xenophobic, race-baiting religious bigot," despite using those words to describe Trump during the 2016 campaign.

"He ran against 17 Republicans and crushed us all. He ran against the Clinton machine and won. So all I can say is you can say anything you want to say about the guy. I said he was a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot. I ran out of things to say. He won,” Graham said on “The View.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

When pressed by the show's hosts whether he still thought that about Trump, Graham responded: "No, I don't think he's a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot — as president."

During the 2016 campaign, Graham called Trump “a kook,” “crazy” and “unfit for office.” He backed Jeb Bush during the Republican primary and said he ultimately cast his vote for independent Evan McMullin. 

In recent weeks, Graham has said he's come around to Trump and has gotten to know the president better. The two have played golf together at Trump's private clubs.

Graham has praised Trump’s foreign policy decisions, including the president's move to arm Ukraine as it fights pro-Russian separatists, his policies toward North Korea and his initial response to protests in Iran.

"I want to help him where I can because there's a lot on this man's plate, and we should all want to help him," Graham said last month on CBS.