Appearing on ABC’s The View on Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was asked about the extremely critical comments he made about Donald Trump during the presidential election, including calling him “a kook,” “crazy,” and “unfit for office.”
If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 3, 2016
Somewhat inexplicably, in recent months, Graham has transformed from a reliable Trump critic to a staunch Trump supporter. After playing a round of golf with the president last month, Graham tweeted an endorsement of Trump’s “spectacular” private golf club in Florida, and he’s recently attacked the media for criticizing Trump in exactly the same terms he used to use.
On The View, Graham made a case that while Trump may be a xenophobic, race-baiting bigot, now that he’s the Republican President of the United States, he’s our xenophobic, race-baiting bigot.
After mentioning that Trump “crushed” the 16 other Republicans who ran for the nomination and “ran against the ‘Clinton machine’ and won,” Graham indicated he came to terms with the reality of President Trump sometime after the election.
“I said a xenophobic, race-baiting religious bigot — I ran out of things to say” during the campaign, Graham said. “He won. Guess what? He’s our president.”
On his highly critical statements of Donald Trump during the campaign, Sen. Lindsey Graham tells @TheView, "No, I don't think he's a xenophobic, race-baiting religious bigot as president." https://t.co/VQeY7xix76 pic.twitter.com/TjI4spjtU0
— ABC News (@ABC) January 8, 2018
Asked if he stands by his criticisms of Trump, Graham at first dodged, and then unconvincingly suggested that President Trump is less bigoted than candidate Trump.
“In my view, he is my president, and he’s doing a really good job on multiple fronts,” Graham said, before a host pressed him to actually answer the question.
“No, I don’t think he’s a xenophobic, race-baiting religious bigot as president,” Graham said.
The help Graham is providing to his onetime nemesis these days goes beyond praising Trump on TV. Last Friday, Graham and a fellow member of the Judiciary Committee — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who serves as chairman — sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate a former British spy, Christopher Steele, who put together a partially unverified intelligence dossier detailing the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russian agents and compromising information Russia has allegedly gathered about Trump.
By completely ignoring the underlying issue of the Trump campaign’s Russia ties and instead trying to muddy the waters by suggesting there was something untoward about the origins of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign — an investigation that reportedly originated independently of the so-called “Steele dossier” — Graham and Grassley were widely seen as doing Trump’s bidding. In recent weeks, Trump and his supporters in Congress and on Fox News have been aggressively pushing to discredit the FBI in general and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign in particular.