Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke out about his late friend and mentor, Senator John McCain. As the Washington Times reports, Graham was frustrated by his mentor’s rejection of the president and wished he’d given him a chance.
“I regret that he didn’t have more time with President Trump. Who knows what would have happened over time?” Graham said in an interview with AP. He added that McCain had seemed able to forgive his captors in Vietnam, and believes that he would have eventually forgiven Trump as well.
The relationship between McCain and Trump had long been a toxic one. While on the campaign trail, Trump mocked McCain for his capture in Vietnam, saying that he liked people who weren’t captured, people who were winners. McCain had long criticized Trump’s policies and beliefs. In a speech he gave while accepting the liberty medal from the National Constitution Center, McCain blasted Trump’s worldviews, saying it is “some half-baked spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”
Even after McCain’s passing, their feud continued. McCain made it clear he did not want Trump at his funeral. Trump issued a curt statement about the senator’s passing and refused to keep the flag lowered at half-staff as is common for the deaths of Congress members.
Many in Washington found Graham’s unbridled enthusiasm for attempting to patch Trump and McCain’s relationship frustrating. Though Graham seemed to be McCain’s best ally in the Senate, his has fully committed to the Trump brand, mocking the “left-wing media” for their attacks on Trump and decrying the Russia probe.
When asked about Graham’s shift from abhorring Trump to acting as his ally and advocate, he said that one has to “move forward” after elections and that as a Republican, he has an “obligation” to help the president. Graham has said he’s changed his mind about Trump and now leverages his closeness to help affect the president’s decisions.
“And I’ve tried to be helpful where I could because I think he needs all the help he can get. You can be a better critic when people understand that you’re trying to help them be successful,” said Graham. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the people of South Carolina, not just Republicans and independents, want to give this country a chance. The president won the state decisively. He’s very popular among Republicans, and people want him to succeed.”