'President Clinton defended himself but he never stopped being president.'
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday unfavorably compared how Donald Trump has handled the impeachment inquiry into his activities with Ukraine to President Bill Clinton's handling of his own impeachment in 1998.
Graham was specifically asked during a news conference how the Trump administration was handling its media response to the issue.
The South Carolina senator said he had spoken to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney about how Trump was "working on" getting a team together, then contrasted Trump's chaotic approach to Clinton's.
"I was involved in the impeachment of President Clinton, I know this sounds weird, but Clinton — look what he did," Graham said. "What he did is he had a team that was organized, had legal minds that could understand what was being said versus the legal proceedings in question, and they were on message every day."
"President Clinton defended himself but he never stopped being president," Graham continued. "And I think one of the reasons that he survived is that the public may not have liked what the president had done, but believed that he was still able to do his job, and as he governed during impeachment I think that was the single best thing he did, quite frankly, to avoid a bad outcome."
After Clinton was impeached by the House in 1998, he was acquitted by the Senate and left the presidency in 2001 with a 66% approval rating.
Clinton's handling of the episode stands in stark contrast to Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the inquiry since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set things into motion in September.
Trump has used derisive nicknames and attacked key figures in the proceedings like Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff while describing the constitutional process as a "coup."
Multiple national polls have shown more than half of the public backs the impeachment inquiry, including voters in the swing states Trump needs to win reelection.
Trump's allies have reportedly worried about how he is handling delivering a daily message as evidence against him mounts. The Hill reported on Tuesday that current and former administration officials were even "urging the White House to hire a new chief strategist" to organize its response.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.