For a short period of time after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to join many of his Republican colleagues in rebuking former President Donald Trump for election-related rhetoric that many argue was the catalyst for the tragic events of that day.
Since that time, Graham has once again returned to his role as a staunch defender and ally of the former president and according to the Washington Examiner, reaffirmed that recently by calling Trump a “friend,” despite what the South Carolina described as the “dark side” of Trump.
“There’s something about Trump”
Graham made the statements during a recent interview on Axios on HBO, with host Jonathan Swan. Given Graham’s long stretch of acting as one of the former president’s top allies in the halls of Congress, it’s not surprising that a reporter would question how Graham is feeling in the post-riot era.
The South Carolina senator offered high praise for the former president, going on about how Trump’s undeniable political influence could reshape the future of the Republican party, which is especially important given that the 2022 midterm elections aren’t far off.
“There’s something about Trump. There’s a dark side, and there’s some magic there, and what I’m trying to do is just harness the magic … [because] he could make the Republican Party something that nobody else I know could make it,” Graham said.
“He could make it stronger. He could make it more diverse. And he also could destroy it,” he added.
Graham was likely referencing the heated and brewing battle between Trump and several establishment members of the GOP, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who both condemned Trump after the riots and then sparked what some in the media have called a Republican “civil war.”
“I consider him a friend”
The senator described Jan. 6 as a “dark day” in American history and reiterated a common Republican message that many members of the party are more interested in moving forward and putting the past behind them. Graham said that the GOP is definitely better off with Trump than without him.
“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,” Graham said.
In recent days, Trump has already made a number of significant, headline-generating moves that clearly show he’s interested in backing candidates who align with his “America First” ideology.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-NC) received one of his earliest endorsements, along with former aide Max Miller, who will launch a primary challenge against Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). The Ohio lawmaker was one of ten House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching the president earlier this year.
Only time will reveal just how significant Trump’s involvement in upcoming elections will be, but it’s clear at this point that Graham is making sure he stays in the good graces of the former president.