Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was slammed as “spineless” on Wednesday for saying the 2024 Republican presidential nomination was Donald Trump’s “if he wants it,” hailed the former president as the real leader of the GOP and said he wouldn’t back Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) return as Senate leader if McConnell didn’t make nice with Trump.
“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 told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “He’s the most consequential Republican since Ronald Reagan. It’s his nomination if he wants it, and I think he’ll get reelected in 2024.”
Graham praised McConnell for working with Trump to install three Supreme Court justices and pass tax cuts. Relations soured between the pair, however, after Trump incited the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot in his failed quest to overturn his election defeat.
Watch Graham’s comments here:
Graham: If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with Trump. Can Senator McConnell effectively work with the Donald Trump. I’m not going to vote for anybody that can’t have a working relationship with Trump pic.twitter.com/boOjekgyTT
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 13, 2022
“But here’s the question: Can Sen. McConnell effectively work with the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump?” Graham asked. “I’m not going to vote for anybody that can’t have a working relationship with President Trump, to be a team, to come up with an America first agenda, to show the difference between us and liberal Democrats, prosecute the case for Trump policies.”
Critics on Twitter reminded Graham of his own past criticism of Trump and slammed him for bending the knee to the former president:
What a spineless cop-out of a justification this is . . . https://t.co/HiijToNGhs
— Scot Lehigh (@GlobeScotLehigh) January 13, 2022
2021: "Trump and I, we’ve had a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it. From my point of view, he’s been a consequential president, but today, first thing you’ll see— All I can say is a count me out."
2022: "It's his nomination if he wants it." https://t.co/ZdlHQy52gB
— Steve Reilly (@BySteveReilly) January 13, 2022
Lindsey Graham, 1/6/2021: "All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough." https://t.co/Ii7TgvBHmc
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) January 13, 2022
He's right. If you want to be a Republican you have to bend the knee to Trump. Which is why people with any principles should have left the TrumpGOP long ago. It is irredeemable. https://t.co/IiC8ajQkLR
— Chris Vance (@Chrisvance123) January 13, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.