Although Graham was seen as one of the most vocal Trump supporters in Congress, he refused to back his allegations of massive voter fraud during the election and decried him for the January 6 Washington, DC riots. Yet, Graham still considers Trump to be “his friend.”
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he believes former US President Donald Trump is capable of making the Republican Party “bigger”, “stronger”, “more diverse”, but he is also capable of destroying it altogether.
“He could make the Republican Party something that nobody else I know can make it. He can make it bigger. He can make it stronger. He can make it more diverse. And he also could destroy it,” Graham said in an interview with Axios released Sunday.
In part, these abilities are indulged by Trump’s “dark side”, which Graham said he was trying to “harness”.
“What I’m tryin’ to do is just harness the magic,” Graham added. “To me, Donald Trump is sort of a cross between Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan and P.T. Barnum.”
Graham noted that Trump triumphed in areas where other Republican candidates of the past such as John McCain and Mitt Romney struggled.
“I want us to continue the policies that I think will make America strong. I believe the best way for the Republican Party to do that is with Trump, not without Trump,” he added. “Mitt Romney didn’t do it. John McCain didn’t do it. There’s something about Trump. There’s a dark side and there’s some magic there.”
Graham said he still considered Trump to be his friend, even though he refused to back the former president’s claims of election fraud, saying that the former president “needed to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution.”
“Donald Trump was my friend before the riot. And I’m trying to keep a relationship with him after the riot. I still consider him a friend. What happened was a dark day in American history, and we’re going to move forward,” he said.
Earlier this week, Trump reportedly demanded several GOP organizations to stop using his name for promotional purposes and fundraising.
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump also hinted that he might consider running for the White House office again in 2024.
Following Trump’s speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, in which he urged his supporters to “fight like hell”, thousands of rioters stormed the Capitol building in a bid to stop the congressional certification of Biden’s win in the November 3 election. The Congress’s work was interrupted for several hours while it was placed under lockdown, but eventually, lawmakers were able to certify Biden’s victory.
As a result of the riots, a demonstrator and a policeman were killed, and three more died from causes unrelated to violence. Although Trump urged his supporters to step back and remain peaceful, the House impeached Trump on charges of “incitement of violence” over remarks he made prior to the DC riots. However, he was acquitted by the Senate.