Graham: Trump throwing 'a lifeline' to Moore

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP divide in Congress over Rosenstein's future Sanders: Kavanaugh accusers 'have risked their lives to come forward' Rosenstein fiasco raises the stakes in midterms for DOJ’s future MORE (R-S.C.) on Sunday cautioned President Trump about his apparent support for Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, but said the decision is ultimately up to Trump.

"Well, that’s a political decision by the president and he’s definitely trying to throw a lifeline to Roy Moore,” Graham told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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“From a Republican point of view ... I don’t know what winning looks like with Roy Moore,” Graham added.

Graham said if Moore wins the Alabama Senate election, Republicans will be forced to deal with whether or not they believe the women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct. But should he lose, Graham added, then a Democrat would take hold of a seat that has for years been held by a Republican.

“The moral of the story is don’t nominate somebody like Roy Moore who could actually lose the seat that any other Republican could win,” Graham said. 

“And from a party perspective, we've got to look long term, not short term.”

Graham has been a frequent critic of Moore, who in recent weeks has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women who said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Graham earlier this month took a swipe at allegations Moore had been banned from an Alabama mall, saying “if you can't be in a mall, you shouldn't be in the Senate.” 

Republicans have called on Moore to step aside following the allegations, but the Alabama Republican has shown no signs that he will exit the race.

Graham on Sunday had a message for Trump about his apparent support for Moore, but said the decision is ultimately “up to the president.”

“If you think winning with Roy Moore is going to be easy for the Republican Party, you’re mistaken,” he said.

Trump has appeared to back Moore in recent days, saying Republicans don’t want the Alabama Senate seat to go to a Democrat.