Graham: I no longer think Trump is a ‘race-baiting religious bigot’

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.), on Monday, said he no longer believes 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 is a "xenophobic, race-baiting religious bigot," despite using those words to describe Trump during the 2016 campaign.

"He ran against 17 Republicans and crushed us all. He ran against the Clinton machine and won. So all I can say is you can say anything you want to say about the guy. I said he was a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot. I ran out of things to say. He won,” Graham said on “The View.” 

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When pressed by the show's hosts whether he still thought that about Trump, Graham responded: "No, I don't think he's a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot — as president."

During the 2016 campaign, Graham called Trump “a kook,” “crazy” and “unfit for office.” He backed Jeb Bush during the Republican primary and said he ultimately cast his vote for independent Evan McMullin. 

In recent weeks, Graham has said he's come around to Trump and has gotten to know the president better. The two have played golf together at Trump's private clubs.

Graham has praised Trump’s foreign policy decisions, including the president's move to arm Ukraine as it fights pro-Russian separatists, his policies toward North Korea and his initial response to protests in Iran.

"I want to help him where I can because there's a lot on this man's plate, and we should all want to help him," Graham said last month on CBS.