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Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents

Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Graham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of troop withdrawal Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study MORE (R-S.C.) pledged on Friday that former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE will "be helpful" to all Senate GOP incumbents on the ballot in 2022, as Republicans increasingly turn their focus to the midterms.

"The president is going to be helpful to all Republican incumbents on the Senate. We've got a great slate of incumbents," Graham said during an interview with Fox News Radio.

He added that Trump would be "working with our incumbents" and "helping" Republicans try to unseat Democrats in Arizona, Georgia and New Hampshire.

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Trump endorsed Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenate aims to pass anti-Asian hate crimes bill this week Trump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle MORE's (R-Kan.) reelection bid this week, and Graham noted on Friday that Trump's team had also been on the phone with Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher Young'Building Back Better' requires a new approach to US science and technology To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Senate Republicans voice opposition to Biden on Iran MORE (R-Ind.).

Trump hasn't publicly committed to supporting every GOP Senate incumbent. Instead, he's encouraged primary challenges against Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump: GOP candidates need to embrace 'make America great' agenda if they want to win Republicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats MORE (R-Alaska) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax GOP acknowledges struggle to bring down Biden Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week MORE (R-S.D.), who are up for reelection next year, and warned in a statement that he was willing to get involved in GOP primaries in order to support candidates who align with him.

But Graham's comments come as Senate Republicans are increasingly trying to ease tensions with Trump, which spiked in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the subsequent impeachment trial.

Republicans openly fumed at Trump after the deadly attack, when a mob of his supporters stormed the building in an effort to stop the counting of the Electoral College vote. Seven GOP senators later voted to convict him of inciting an insurrection, as part of his Senate trial.

Trump has maintained a vise-like grip on the party's base, who Republicans will need if they want to win back the House and Senate next year. They've also watched as lawmakers who broke with Trump on impeachment have faced backlash back home.

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Republicans are defending 20 seats in 2022, many of which are in red states where Trump remains popular.

Underscoring the shifting political grounds, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban It's not 'woketivism,' it's good business MORE (Ky.) — who offered a blistering critique of Trump just weeks ago, calling him "morally responsible" for the attack — said on Thursday night that he would support Trump if he wins the party's 2024 nomination.

"The nominee of the party? Absolutely," McConnell said during an interview with Fox News's Bret Baier.

Asked if he agreed with Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyAdvocacy groups pushing Biden to cancel student debt for disabled 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults now eligible for COVID vaccines MORE's (R-Utah) prediction that Trump, if he runs, would win the party's nomination, McConnell demurred, noting that 2024 would be a "wide open race."

"There's a lot to happen between now and '24. I've got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president," he added.

McConnell's comments came after Trump lashed out at him in response to his floor speech, calling him "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.”

The dust-up sparked talk of a GOP civil war, and earned McConnell criticism from the president's allies, including Graham and Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (R-Wis.). 

Until the Fox News interview, McConnell had largely declined to talk about Trump since his floor speech, including sidestepping questions during his weekly press conferences on Capitol Hill.