South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham says he won’t back Mitch McConnell for Senate GOP leader unless he has a “working relationship” with Donald Trump.
During an interview on Fox News, host Sean Hannity asked Graham about McConnell announcing that he will run for GOP Senate leader again.
When asked if McConnell would get his backing, Graham said there to be no strained ties between the GOP leader and Trump, who is expected to play a key role in the 2022 midterms and beyond.
“If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump,” Graham said.
Graham said: “I like Senator McConnell” and praised his work with Trump on tax cuts and getting “a bunch of judges including three…Supreme Court justices on the bench.”
“I’m not going to vote for anybody that can’t have a working relationship with President Trump,” he said, arguing Republicans need to work as “a team…to show the difference between us and liberal Democrats,” as well as “prosecute the case for Trump policies.”
“I’m not going to vote for anybody for leader of the Senate as a Republican unless they can prove to me that they can advocate an American first agenda and have a working relationship with President Trump, because if you can’t do that, you will fail,” Graham continued.
Graham said that Trump was “the most consequential Republican since Ronald Reagan” and said that if the former president decides to run again in 2024, “I think he’ll get re-elected.”
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Last month, Trump went after McConnell during an interview on Fox Business and accused him of being clueless for helping Joe Biden and the Democrats pass the infrastructure bill.
“It’s not infrastructure and we had 19 Republicans voting for it. What a shame. But Mitch McConnell gave this. That guy should resign as the leader,” he said.
“He broke up the bills, and by breaking it up that was bad, but then he gave them two months to get their act together. They were ready to fold. We had them. And then Mitch McConnell gave them two months. This guy doesn’t have a clue,” the former president said.
But this is far from the first time he and McConnell have been at odds with each other. Earlier this month he mocked the fact that McConnell was skipping the Biden signing of the infrastructure law.
“Based on the fact that the Old Crow convinced many Republican Senators to vote for the Bill, greatly jeopardizing their chance of winning re-election, and that he led the way, he should go to the signing and put up with the scorn from Great Republican Patriots that are already lambasting him,” he said.
In October, Trump tore into McConnell for working with Democrats to extend the debt ceiling.
“The Republican Senate needs to do leadership. I’ve been saying it for a long time. Mitch isn’t the guy. He is not the right guy,” Trump began when asked about McConnell.
“He is not doing the job. He gave them a lifeline. It’s more than a lifeline. He gave them so much time to figure out what to do because they were in a big bind. They wouldn’t be able to do anything. He had the weapon, and he was unable to use it. It’s a shame. It’s a shame,” he added.
On the 11 Republicans who voted to allow the Democrats to vote to extend the debt ceiling, Trump said, “These 11 people come out I know them, some are wonderful, and some I don’t agree with too often. I’m not surprised to see some of the names. I will tell you this, that’s not a good thing that happened today. He made a big mistake.”
Trump also went after the Biden administration for its handling of the border crisis.
“Now it’s coming in at levels that we have never seen: three, four, five times more than we ever had to come in… There’s something wrong,” the 45th president said. “You wouldn’t believe you could even say this, but somebody doesn’t love our country.
“When they allow this to happen to our country, we have hundreds of thousands of people pouring in every two weeks,” he said.