Graham: Middle East leaders concerned about Trump
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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on police brutality next week McCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony MORE (R-S.C.) said on Thursday that GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE's rhetoric is raising concerns with allies in the Middle East.  

"They wanted to ask about Trump and I told them 'everybody asks me about Trump in terms of policy changes,'" he told reporters. "I said 'he's an outlier.'"

Graham, who dropped his own White House bid in December, just returned from a trip to the Middle East that included stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt. 


He suggested Middle Eastern officials are particularly concerned about Trump's pledge to ban Muslims from entering the United States. 

Graham said leaders are "dumbfounded that somebody running for president of the United States would suggest that the United States ban everybody in their faith."

"I can't tell you how that one statement was unnerving [to Middle Eastern leaders]," he added.

Trump appeared to walk back his call for a blanket ban last month, suggesting he wanted better surveillance of immigrants rather than a total shutdown. 

But Graham suggested foreign officials have other concerns, including the real estate mogul's suggestion that the United States should work with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

"I'm telling them, in my view, that his policy positions don't represent the Republican Party, they represent him," Graham added. "I told them just to hang in there. This is the silly season, it will pass." 


Graham has been a frequent and vocal opponent of Trump, suggesting the billionaire will destroy the Republican Party if he wins the GOP nomination. 

He said later that he was only asked about Trump's policies during his trip and not those of Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzRosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Clyburn: Cowed GOP ascribes 'mystical powers' to Trump GOP senators dodge on treatment of White House protesters MORE, who is battling with Trump for the GOP nomination. 

"They are very much bewildered by the election process like I am," said Graham, who threw his support behind Cruz after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out of the presidential race. 

Graham's not the first senator to say he's faced questions about the campaign during trips overseas. 

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Trump's move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd's death 'a national tragedy' Pentagon: Esper, Milley 'not aware' of Trump's church photo-op ahead of time Democratic senator plans defense bill amendment to bar using troops against protesters MORE (D-Va.) told a local radio station late last month that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan voiced concerns about "anti-Muslim" rhetoric from the campaign.