Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham Cozies Up to Trump

New York Times: “Three times in a single day last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) cellphone rang. The first time, President Trump called about the health care fight in Congress. The second time, the president thanked the senator for defending his honor on television. Then Mr. Trump rang seeking more intelligence on health care.”

“Mr. Graham — Republican of South Carolina and a one-time target of the president’s barbs on Twitter — has transformed himself into the Senate’s Trump whisperer, shrugging off the White House chaos, personal insults and deep ideological differences in exchange for Mr. Trump’s ear.”

Graham Says ‘We’re Dead’ If Tax Reform Fails

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)  told CBS News that if the Republican party cannot enact tax reform, just one item on the congressional agenda, “we’re dead.”

Said Graham: “If we don’t cut taxes and we don’t eventually repeal and replace Obamacare, then we’re going to lose across the board in the House in 2018. And all of my colleagues running in primaries in 2018 will probably get beat.”

He added: “It will be the end of Mitch McConnell as we know it.”

Graham Says Trump Is Willing to Strike North Korea

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told radio host Hugh Hewitt that while President Trump said he would try to negotiate with North Korea, he is very “willing to abandon strategic patience and use preemption. I think he’s there mentally. He has told me this.”

Said Graham: “I wish a Democrat would take their hatred of Donald Trump and park it…because of everyone else’s failure, he’s run out of the ability to kick the can down the road.”

Graham Says It’s Unlikely Senate Will Pass Health Care

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Bloomberg he doesn’t see much chance for a GOP health care bill passing the Senate this year.

Said Graham: “I don’t think there will be. I just don’t think we can put it together among ourselves.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to Politico: “Just listening to the debate over the past few weeks, I think cobbling together a bill that could get 50 votes is going to be a challenge, but you never know.”

Graham Heaps Praise on Trump

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) enthusiastically praised President Trump for his foreign policy, “a continued departure from his sharp criticism of Trump during the 2016 race and even after the election,” Politico reports.

Said Graham: “I am like the happiest dude in America right now. We have got a president and a national security team that I’ve been dreaming of for eight years.”

Is This How You Get a Message to Trump?

First Read: “It’s not every day that you hear the phrase ‘f you’ from a sitting United States senator during a broadcast T.V. appearance, but that’s what we heard from Sen. Lindsey Graham on Meet the Press Sunday.”

CHUCK TODD: Do you think there’s a moral difference between the use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: No, there’s a legal difference, not a moral difference. If you’re a mother, your baby is dead. But we do have treaties that we’ve signed all over the world saying we’re not going to let one nation use weapons of mass destruction. That’s what the chemical weapons treaty is all about. But I will say this. If you kill babies with conventional bombs, it’s still a moral outrage. Here’s what I think Assad’s telling Trump by flying from this base: “F you.” And I think he’s making a serious mistake. Because if you’re an adversary of the United States and you don’t worry about what Trump may do on any given day — then you’re crazy.

“Graham’s not someone who uses language casually when it comes to national security, and his wording certainly seemed intentional here. And it’s the kind of thing sure to get the attention of a president who’s famously attuned to TV commentary (and who’s also certainly aware of the buzz that can be earned for throwing some salty language around.) Which leads us to wonder: If you’re trying to get the attention of Donald Trump — especially amid the staff upheaval and palace intrigue we’ve been seeing in the West Wing — is a bit of Trump-like rhetorical bomb-throwing on T.V. now the most effective way to break through to him?”

Graham Says Flynn Asking for Immunity Is ‘Bizarre’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “expressed concern about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s requests for immunity from prosecution over ongoing investigations into whether members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had inappropriate contacts with Russian officials,” Politico reports.

Said Graham: “The whole situation with Gen. Flynn is a bit bizarre. He’s said in the past nobody asks for immunity unless they have committed a crime. I’m not so sure that’s true — as a lawyer I know that always that is not true. But the whole situation is really strange.”

Graham Wants to Require Disclosure of Tax Returns

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he wants all presidential candidates to be required by law to release their tax returns, starting in 2020, Politico reports.

Said Graham: “I think that prospectively what I’ll do is, any candidate running in 2020 needs to release their tax returns. You just make it a law.”

He then explained that the law would apply to Trump, “if he’s a candidate for president” in 2020.

Graham Says Trump Budget Is ‘Dead On Arrival’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that President Trump’s first budget was “dead on arrival” and wouldn’t make it through Congress, The Hill reports.

Said Graham: “It’s not going to happen. It would be a disaster.”

New York Times: “Like many presidents before him, President Trump is pushing a bold budget proposal. But for a business executive used to getting his way, he is likely to find, as his predecessors did, that final budgets often bear little resemblance to the originals after being run through the shredder on Capitol Hill.”

Graham Calls for Punishing Russia and Trump Aides

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that Russia and any ally of President Trump working with Russia “needs to pay a price” for their involvement in trying to influence the election in Trump’s favor, Politico reports.

Said Graham: “If it is true, it is very, very disturbing to me and Russia needs to pay a price when it comes to interfering in our democracy and other democracies. And any Trump person who was working with the Russians in an unacceptable way also needs to pay a price.”