Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) implored Republicans to continue to work together after former President Trump launched a broadside against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), in an interview on Fox News on Wednesday.
While McConnell voted to acquit the former president during his impeachment trial on Saturday, the minority leader said in a Senate floor speech that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the January 6 riot at the Capitol. In response, Trump labeled McConnell a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” and said the Republican party could never be “respected and strong” with McConnell leading it.
Lindsey Graham: I know Trump can be a handful but he is the most dominant figure in the Republican Party. We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump… I’m sorry what happened on January 6th. He’ll get his fair share of blame… pic.twitter.com/yNAh5kVkav
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) February 17, 2021
“What I would say to Senator McConnell [is], I know Trump can be a handful, but he is the most dominant figure in the Republican party,” Graham told Fox. “We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump. If you don’t get that, you’re just not looking.”
Graham also conceded that McConnell would play an integral role in the future of the party, saying the minority leader was “indispensable to Donald Trump’s success” during his time leading the Senate.
“I want you to know this: Mitch McConnell was indispensable to Donald Trump’s success. Mitch McConnell got the tax cut through with a two-vote Republican majority. Mitch McConnell was much to credit for Amy Coney Barrett as any single person. Mitch McConnell working with Donald Trump did a hell of a job. They are now at each other’s throat,” he said.
“I am more worried about 2022 than I’ve ever been. I don’t want to eat our own. President Trump is the most consequential Republican in the party. If Mitch McConnell doesn’t understand that, he’s missing a lot,” he added.
Graham has previously touted Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara as a potential candidate for a Senate seat in North Carolina, saying that she “represents the future of the Republican party.”
“I’m sorry what happened on January 6th. [Trump will] get his fair share of blame,” Graham said on Wednesday, “but to my Republican colleagues in the Senate: let’s try to work together, realize that without President Trump we’re never going to get back in the majority. And to President Trump, you’re going to have to make some changes for you to reach your potential.”
Republicans are already looking to the 2022 midterms to regain control of the Senate, with McConnell looking to support candidates based on “electability” while Trump has threatened to back primary challengers in some races.
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