Graham, Trump huddle to talk GOP’s 2022 strategy

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Monday that he discussed the 2022 elections during a weekend meeting with former President Trump that he had billed as part of an effort to unite a fractured party.

Graham, returning to the Capitol on Monday evening, said they “just talked about the 2022 cycle.”

“He’s very involved in helping the team win,” Graham added, noting that Trump “made a bunch of phone calls” and is “trying to get the best team on the field.”

An adviser to the former president didn’t immediately respond to a question about the meeting and what, if any, outreach Trump did.

Graham traveled to Florida over the weekend to discuss the future of the Republican Party with Trump, who has indicated he wants to remain as the dominant force heading into the 2022 midterm elections and 2024 presidential election.

“I want us to come together as much as possible. I think we need to be united around getting the majority back. … The worst possible outcome for the Republican Party is to continue to argue amongst itself,” Graham told reporters on Friday.

The meeting comes as high-profile divisions have emerged among Republican lawmakers, who are grappling with how to approach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Senate Republicans have signaled that they are ready to move on while acknowledging that it’s far from clear the former president or the party base will let them.

Trump lashed out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the Kentucky Republican said during a floor speech that the former president was “morally responsible” for the attack carried out by his supporters.

McConnell’s speech drew criticism from some members of the caucus — namely Graham and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who argued he didn’t speak for most Senate Republicans.

GOP operatives have warned that a high-profile feud could hurt the party’s chances of winning back the House and Senate next year.

Republicans have watched as fierce GOP primary fights have cost them Senate seats they hoped to win in previous cycles. And both McConnell and Trump have indicated they are willing to wade into GOP primaries.

McConnell and his allies are keeping an eye out for candidates they worry could win a primary but be unelectable in the general election.

Trump has not said who he intends to back, though he’s previously endorsed primary challenges against Republicans such as Sen. John Thune (S.D.), who is up in 2022.

He indicated during a fiery statement hitting back at McConnell that he would back primary candidates who “espouse Making America Great Again.”

“Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership,” Trump said.

Tags 2022 midterms 2024 presidential election Donald Trump John Thune Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Ron Johnson

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