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Graham: Trump judges people on whether they're nice to him

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Trump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair MORE (R-S.C.) dismissed the suggestion on Thursday that President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE is a racist, saying that the president judges people solely on whether they are nice to him.

"You could be dark as charcoal and lilly white, it doesn't matter as long as you're nice to him,” Graham said in an interview on CNN. “You could be the pope and criticize him, it doesn't matter, he'll go after the pope. You could be [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and say nice things, and he'll like you." 

"Here's what I found: He's a street fighter," Graham added. "It's not the color of your skin that matters, it's not the content of your character. It's whether or not you show him respect and like him."

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Graham's comments came as Trump faces allegations of racist behavior after he reportedly demanded during a meeting with lawmakers last week to know why the U.S. should admit immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti over other countries like Norway.

Graham, who was in the meeting in which Trump allegedly made the remarks, has said that the reported comments are "basically accurate."

But he declined on Thursday to confirm whether Trump described countries, like Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations, as "shithole countries," saying that he wanted to maintain a dialogue with Trump. 

"I want to make sure that I can keep talking to the president," Graham said. "I told him what I thought, and that's more important to me than anything else."