The American people rejected Trumpism in 2020 by a margin of over 7 million votes, consigning Donald to that embarrassingly small club of incumbent presidents who were denied a second term. Rather than accept this resounding defeat with grace, the MAGA movement, urged on by its egomaniacal carnival barker of a leader, rose up in a deadly insurrection against the duly elected government of the United States and stormed the Capitol. Anyone who still supports Donald Trump at this point cannot claim to love this country. They have forsaken democracy for authoritarianism and should be treated as political pariahs.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seems to think he can have it both ways — supporting Trumpism while distancing himself from the violent insurrection. During a new interview with Jonathan Swan for Axios, Graham addressed his relationship with the disgraced ex-president. He said that Trump was his “friend” before the “riot” and that he’s trying to “keep a relationship” with him after the “riot.”
“What happened was a dark day in American history and we’re going to move forward so here’s what you need to know about me: I want this to continue. I want us to continue the policies that will make America strong. I believe the best way for the Republican Party to do that is with Trump not without Trump,” said Graham.
Tellingly, he failed to name which specific Trump-era policies he believes made this country stronger. Was it the complete botching of the COVID-19 response that eventually resulted in over half a million dead Americans? Was it the weakening of our international alliances and cozying up to dictators? Was it the rampant racism and xenophobia? The funneling of even more wealth to the super-rich and the skyrocketing of the debt? What was that Lindsey liked so much?
Swan listened to Graham with something like naked disbelief before pointing out that Trump is still lying by claiming he won the election, propagating the same conspiracy theory that caused the insurrection in the first place. Graham sidestepped addressing the Big Lie and pivoted to saying that he has told Trump he lost Arizona because of his attacks on the late Senator John McCain.
While Graham might be correct in this analysis, it’s utterly irrelevant to a conversation about Trump claiming he won an election he lost overwhelmingly. Cowardly as usual, Graham is afraid to push back on Trump’s misinformation because he knows it’s the quickest way to alienate MAGA voters.
Graham eventually pointed out that he won his reelection bid and insisted that he could “throw” Trump away tomorrow if he really wanted to.
“Why aren’t I?” asked Graham.
“Yeah. That’s what I really don’t understand,” said Swan.
“Well then you don’t understand me very much,” said Graham.
“I don’t. That’s why I’m asking you,” responded Swan.
The senator failed to provide a compelling explanation, instead saying vaguely that it would be “too easy” to just move on from Trumpism. He repeated his absurd belief that the MAGA movement is good for this country despite the mountains of evidence and piles of dead bodies indicating the exact opposite.
“There’s something about Trump. There’s a dark side. And there’s some magic there. What I’m trying to do is just harness the magic,” Graham explained, making it clear that his sustained fealty to Trump is nothing more than cynical opportunism. He supports MAGA because he believes MAGA can help him and men like him win elections and maintain their grip on power, consequences be damned.
Watch the shameful performance below.
Swan: "Yeah. That's what I really don't understand."
Graham: "Well, then you don't understand me very much."
— Axios (@axios) March 8, 2021
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