Graham quips key to working with Trump: We both ‘like him’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) offered tongue-in-cheek insight on Friday into why his working relationship with former President Trump is successful: They both like Trump.

Graham, speaking at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference, showered praise on the former president and recounted how they went from bitter enemies during the 2016 presidential race to close allies, with Graham emerging as one of Trump’s staunchest defenders after he won.

“During my brief time I said everything about Donald Trump that I could say that was bad. We didn’t hit it off,” Graham said.

“He called me over to his office, and said I’d like you to help me. … We came to find common ground, that common ground is that he likes him, and I’ve come to like him. That will get you through 18 holes of golf, the front nine is about why he likes him, the back nine is why I liked him,” Graham added.

Graham’s quip on Trump sparked rounds of laughter from the conservative audience. But it also hit at a key Trump trait: That he’s well known for liking to talk about himself, and making close allies out of fellow Republicans who will publicly praise and defend him. Trump is equally quick to lash out at Republicans who disagree with him publicly, even if they are longtime allies.

Graham on Friday also jokingly acknowledged Trump’s public feud with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). The two were closely aligned during Trump’s time in the White House, but their relationship unraveled after McConnell publicly congratulated President Biden on winning the 2020 election in mid-December. Trump has repeatedly lashed out at McConnell, who has stopped mentioning Trump directly by name in public.

“I don’t see Mitch and Trump going on vacation, but that’s OK. We’ve just gotta, we’ve just gotta get to the same place. I don’t care if we take different cars, do y’all?” Graham said on Friday.

Graham has remained close to Trump since he left the White House, including traveling to Mar-a-Lago to golf with the former president and talking about what he believes the party needs to unify with Trump heading into 2022, where they are hoping to win back control of the House and Senate.

“So ladies and gentlemen, winning in 2022 is the only option available for conservatives. If we win in 2022, it means the party of Trump is not dead and buried, it’s still alive,” Graham said. 

“If we can pull this off, take back the House and the Senate then 2024 becomes ours to lose. Imagine four more years of Donald Trump policies,” he added.

Tags 2016 GOP primary 2020 election 2022 election 2024 election Donald Trump Donald Trump Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell

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