Graham says becoming Trump ally ‘absolutely’ worth it: ‘I’ve had more access to this president than every president combined’

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill MORE (R-S.C.) said Sunday that becoming a close ally of President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE has "absolutely" been worth it, pointing to the access to Trump it brought him.

"I feel like I’ve had more access to this president than every president combined. We don’t always agree," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union."

ADVERTISEMENT

Graham, who criticized Trump during his presidential campaign before becoming one of his closest allies in Congress, voiced opposition earlier this month to Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, saying it would be an "Obama-like mistake."

The senator was also recently at odds with Trump over his decision not to severely punish Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following the murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

But Graham said Sunday that he has been "generally pleased" with Trump's decisions on foreign policy.

"He pulled out of the Iranian agreement, which was a nightmare. He’s increased military spending to a level that I could not be more pleased with. He changed the rules of engagement in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria so [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] is just about destroyed," Graham said.

"All I ask him to do is make sure we don’t fumble the ball inside the 10-yard line," he continued. "Sit down with the generals to make sure we get Syria right.”

Graham added that Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria, which was quickly followed by the resignation of Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Trump says Gen. Milley 'last person' he'd want to start a coup with Overnight Defense: Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld dies at 88 | Trump calls on Milley to resign | House subpanel advances Pentagon spending bill MORE, "caught me by surprise."

"I fear it’s going to undercut all we have achieved," he said. "And I’ll ask the president to reconsider. And I think he’s going to sit down with his generals and make an informed, well thought out decision.”