MSNBC anchor speculates Trump has something 'pretty extreme' on Graham

MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle speculated without offering evidence Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE has "something pretty extreme" on Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhy Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators GOP senators double down on demand for Clinton email probe documents MORE (R-S.C.).

Ruhle made the remark on MSNBC's "Velshi & Ruhle" on Tuesday morning while interviewing former GOP congressman David Jolly (I-Fla.), who left the Republican Party in 2018. 

"Before Don got elected, Lindsey Graham called Donald Trump a racist, xenophobic bigot. Those are Lindsey Graham's words," Jolly said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I doubt Lindsey Graham could tell you Donald Trump has had a change of heart in the last 24 months, I bet the change of heart has been with Lindsey Graham, not the president," he said.

"Or it could be that Donald Trump or somebody knows something pretty extreme about Lindsey Graham," Ruhle said, without expounding before the commercial break.

Some media members took to Twitter to blast Ruhle for being "completely irresponsible" for making such a suggestion during a nationally televised newscast.

MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Tuesday.

Graham has been one of Trump's more vocal defenders since he took office, particularly during the confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughOn The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job GOP strategist: Alabama Republicans need to 'gather around' candidate who 'is not Roy Moore' Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 MORE in the fall.

But the former 2016 presidential rival has also recently criticized the president on big issues, including over Trump's abrupt declaration last month about a U.S. withdrawal from Syria.

Graham vehemently opposed the move, calling it a "disaster" and a "stain on the honor of the United States." He maintained that despite Trump's initial declaration, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had not been defeated in Syria.

"To say they're defeated is an overstatement and is fake news," Graham said on the Senate floor Dec. 19. "It is not true. They have been severely damaged but they will come back unless we're there to stop them."

Officials have since delayed the timeline for a withdrawal amid concerns from the military and U.S. allies. Senators leaving a briefing last week said they still had questions about the administration's strategy in Syria.