Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is willing to let Trump get away with a lot because Trump is nice to him now.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) excused Trump's repeated attacks on his deceased friend Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) by pointing out that Trump allowed Graham "in his world."
Seven months after McCain's death, Trump has continued to whine about the Arizona senator, particularly for his vote against repealing Obamacare. Trump even complained during a recent official White House speech that he was never thanked for allowing McCain's funeral to take place at the National Cathedral. The National Cathedral then noted that the McCain family did not require Trump's permission to do so.
Graham discussed the issue during a Wednesday appearance on CNN, where he was asked about criticism of his refusal to strongly condemn Trump's remarks about McCain. Graham was unrepentant.
"It's not OK for the president to go after John McCain personally, I've said that a thousand times," Graham said, then added, "But the bottom line here is I'm going to help President Trump."
Anchor Kate Bolduan pressed Graham, pointing out Trump "has attacked [McCain] relentlessly even in his death."
Graham continued to pivot away from Trump's vicious attacks on McCain, insisting that his constituents in South Carolina want him to work with Trump.
"I want to have influence with this president because he is president," the Republican senator said.
Graham, who has been a golf partner of Trump's, praised him for "doing a damn good job." The majority of Americans have disagreed in poll after poll since the beginning of Trump's time in office.
The senator said people who have pointed out the unseemly nature of Trump's attacks on McCain are not truly offended, and that the criticism of his toadying up to Trump is based solely on opposition to Trump's presidency, even though many critics of Trump's attacks have been Republicans.
"President Trump has been good to me in the sense he's allowed me in his world," Graham concluded.
The interview highlighted Graham's continued transition from a Trump critic in 2016 to one of his most vocal and loyal sycophants since he assumed the presidency.
Graham, a longtime conservative with a lifelong dedication to the right-wing cause, has made it clear that being a Trump insider and helping to enact his conservative agenda supersedes everything, including his own personal integrity. In 2015, Graham had called Trump "a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot," but now he's all too happy to defend anything Trump says or does, even when he's maliciously attacking Graham's friend in a way that prompts other Republicans to object.
For Graham, if having "influence" with Trump means biting his tongue when Trump trashes a fellow Republican who can't even fight back from the afterlife, so be it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.