Graham: Middle East leaders concerned about Trump
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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOn The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections Democrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Bipartisan infrastructure group grows to 20 senators MORE (R-S.C.) said on Thursday that GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos 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 CruzCourt fines baker 0 for refusing to make gender transition cake Overnight Defense: Top admiral shoots back at criticism of 'woke' military | Military guns go missing | New White House strategy to battle domestic extremism Top admiral shoots back at criticism of 'woke' military: 'We are not weak' 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 KaineManchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rights Overnight Defense: Biden, Putin agree to launch arms control talks at summit | 2002 war authorization repeal will get Senate vote | GOP rep warns Biden 'blood with be on his hands' without Afghan interpreter evacuation Manchin opens door to supporting scaled-down election reform bill 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.