MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle speculated without offering evidence Tuesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE has "something pretty extreme" on Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' Senators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention 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.
"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.
Here’s @SRuhle suggesting that President Trump or “somebody knows something pretty extreme about Lindsey Graham” when discussing his turn from Trump critic to Trump supporter.— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) January 15, 2019
That is a completely irresponsible thing to even suggest. pic.twitter.com/ryyaXqf3yK
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 KavanaughLocked and Loaded: Supreme Court is ready for a showdown on the Second Amendment Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy 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.