Graham dismisses Scarborough slam he 'sold his soul' for Trump

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday dismissed criticism from MSNBC host Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughScarborough pleads with Biden to mandate vaccines for teachers, health workers Trump ramps up attacks on media Scarborough hosts critical race theory debate on 'Morning Joe' MORE, stating in an interview on Fox News Radio that one thing he's "not going to worry about is pleasing Joe Scarborough."

The push back comes after Scarborough, who left the Republican Party last year after saying he could not be in a party that backed President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE, said Graham had "sold his soul" by supporting the president on a number of issues.

ADVERTISEMENT

Scarborough's comments on Graham came Tuesday morning, with the former GOP congressman arguing the South Carolina senator was only supporting Trump to solidify his standing among Republican voters in his state going into the 2020 senatorial primary.

“Lindsey Graham has a Republican primary in 2020,” Scarborough said. “He was having trouble in the state of South Carolina and recent polls show that among Republican senators he has one of the better approval ratings with the rank and file in the Republican Party in the state of South Carolina.”

“He basically ... sold his political soul for, you know, 20 percentage points inside his own Republican Party. I guess, unlike John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE, Lindsey Graham didn’t have the confidence and the assurance in his voters that he could speak truth to power and still get reelected in his state,” he added. 

The "Morning Joe" host also said Graham was acting differently than the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was one of Graham's closest friends and was critical of the president up until his death in August.

“I’m a senator from South Carolina, people want me to help this president," Graham, a vocal Trump ally on Capitol Hill, told host Brian Kilmeade. "And we have disagreements and when we do I try to work through them.”

“Cable chatter is just cable chatter, and nothing is going to change my relationship with Sen. McCain," he continued. "He was a big influence on my life, taught me a lot about foreign policy. I think President Trump is doing a very, very good job, and I’m certain he’s going to get reelected. I really believe that.”

Kilmeade described Graham as doing "play-by-play" in praising or criticizing Trump by going issue-to-issue from a foreign policy perspective.

“Senator, by the way, actually, everything that you stand for, you want to get more aggressive in Venezuela, you’re stronger on North Korea now and the president used to be somewhat reserved," Kilmeade said.

“You’re happy you’re taking action against China. You’re not happy he made comments against Joe BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE. You’re doing play-by-play," he said. "You’re not going out of your way to rip him, but I think you’re being totally consistent with who you are. There’s not one thing you’re saying that you don’t believe. You’re in current by President Trump’s aggressive approach to our chronic problems.”

The senator replied saying that he simply could not worry about the MSNBC host's comments.

“Yeah. But one thing I’m not going to worry about is pleasing Joe Scarborough. It’s not on my list," Graham replied.