February 16, 2021
Lindsey Graham Says Donald Trump Is 'A Handful,' But Republicans 'Need' Him

In an interview on Sunday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham discussed the future of the GOP and former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Per the Washington Examiner, Graham revealed to Fox News host Chris Wallace that he recently talked to Trump, who plans on maintaining an active presence in politics.

Trump is "ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party," Graham explained, noting that he will soon meet with the former president.

"He's excited about 2022, and I'm going to go down to talk with him next week, play a little golf in Florida," the senator continued, saying that he recently told the former commander-in-chief "this MAGA movement needs to continue."

Wallace then changed gears, asking Graham to say whether he believes Trump is to blame for the violence that erupted on January 6, when a group of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Graham said Trump bears responsibility for repeatedly claiming the 2020 election was rife with widespread fraud but insisted that his speech on the day of the riots was not an incitement to violence. Still, Graham noted that the former commander-in-chief could have "done more" to deescalate the tensions.

Graham concluded that Republicans "need" Trump, despite all his flaws.

"I've been involved in politics for over 25 years, the president is a handful, and what happened on Jan. 6 was terrible for the country, but he's not singularly to blame."
Graham opined that "there was a preplanned element" to the attacks on the Capitol, calling for a robust investigation into the matter. Both Trump and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi need to be investigated, he said, calling for a "9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again."

As The Washington Examiner noted, the January 6 riots led to Trump's second impeachment. House Democrats charged him with incitement of insurrection, but the evenly-split Senate acquitted him on the charge, with most Republicans refusing to support his conviction.

Earlier this week, Graham said that he and Trump plan to discuss the future of the GOP. The senator promised to persuade the former commander-in-chief to help Republicans win both chambers of Congress in 2022 and said that the party could have a "decent chance at coming back" next year.

The extent to which Trump will be involved in the 2022 midterms remains unclear, but he has vowed to take revenge against conservative lawmakers who refused to support his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 race.