Graham fears post-Boehner 'meltdown'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (R-S.C.) is warning Republicans to act wisely following the impending departure of Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA time for war, a time for peace — and always a time to defend America Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Soleimani killing deepens distrust between Trump, Democrats MORE (R-Ohio), which he fears could lead to a party "meltdown" in 2016.

“It’s a fresh start, and what’s the goal here? The goal here is to move the needle,” the presidential contender told reporters at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday, ABC News reported.

“I hope we can have a relationship with the new Speaker that will allow us not to shut down the government, keep the conservative agenda alive, and focus on winning in 2016."

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Graham characterized the worst-case scenario as GOP lawmakers taking actions that "hurt our brand even further."

“I hope that we’ll look at winning the presidency in 2016," he said, which would depend on "our actions in the House and the Senate."

Boehner shocked Washington on Friday by announcing he would leave Congress at the end of October. The Speaker had clashed with conservative members of his conference and some had floated trying to oust him in a fight over funding for Planned Parenthood.

Graham praised Boehner's tenure as Speaker.

"I don't know what's going to happen. One, I think him for his service. I think he's been a good friend for over twenty years. I think he did a good job as Speaker to build a strong majority," he said, according to NBC News.

"Now we've got to keep it."