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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBolton exit provokes questions about Trump shift on Iran The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Graham: US should consider strike on Iranian oil refineries after attack on Saudi Arabia MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday dismissed criticism from MSNBC host Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughMcConnell: 'Over-the-top' Moscow Mitch nickname effort to 'smear' me In three years of Trump's presidency, who has branded whom? GOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads 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 John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE, said Graham had "sold his soul" by supporting the president on a number of issues.

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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 McCain The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Biden's debate performance renews questions of health At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR 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 BidenBiden bemoans white supremacy in remarks at civil rights movement site Gun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate 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.