Trump dismisses talk of Graham joining Cabinet

Trump dismisses talk of Graham joining Cabinet
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE on Tuesday dismissed talk of Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Democratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (R-S.C.) joining his Cabinet, telling reporters that he believes the senator "wants to stay right where he is."

"Certainly I would," Trump said when asked if he would give Graham a place in his administration. "But I think he's really happy."

Graham's future became the subject of immediate speculation after Trump announced that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyJudd Apatow urges Georgia voters to get rid of Doug Collins after 'terrorists' comment Nikki Haley: Democratic leadership, 2020 Dems are the only people mourning Soleimani death Trump Jr., Ivanka garner support in hypothetical 2024 poll MORE would depart her post by the end of the year. 

Graham has been considered a potential Cabinet pick, should Trump move on from Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report Bottom Line DOJ inquiry tied to Clinton, touted by Trump winds down with no tangible results: report MORE or Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book Maxine Waters: Republicans 'shielding' Trump 'going to be responsible for dragging us to war' MORE. Appointing Graham would free up a Senate seat for Haley to campaign for in her home state of South Carolina.

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Haley said she is "not running for 2020," instead saying she would campaign for Trump in 2020, dismissing talk of her higher political ambitions. Trump on Tuesday disputed that the outgoing ambassador had a Senate campaign in mind.

"You have two really good ones right there right now, so I don’t see her doing that," Trump said.

"Lindsey’s a popular guy and Tim [Scott (R-S.C.)] is a popular guy … and Nikki doesn’t have that in mind at all," he added.

Trump praised Graham for his performance in recent weeks as the South Carolina Republican emerged as one of the most fervent defenders of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughDemocratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment January reminds us why courts matter — and the dangers of 'Trump judges' Planned Parenthood launches M campaign to back Democrats in 2020 MORE. Graham earned plaudits from conservatives for his fiery rebuke of Democrats' handling of sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing late last month.

Hours before Trump formally announced Haley would exit the administration at the end of 2018, Graham told reporters in South Carolina that he has "zero interest" in serving in the Cabinet.

"I like him, I want to help him, I want him to be successful," Graham said. "I think I can do more good for the country and help President Trump more effectively by being in the Senate.”

Graham is up for reelection in 2020.