In a report by The New York Times, the South Carolina senator and staunch Trump ally said he believes he can make the former president a unifying figure in the Republican party – but only if he moves on from his fixation with 2020.
Since his defeat to Joe Biden, Trump has doubled down on claims that the 2020 election was ‘rigged’ and made repeated allegations that he only lost because of widespread election fraud. Trump has yet to offer any proof to substantiate those claims, which have failed every legal challenge he has attempted.
‘What I say to him is, ‘Do you want January the 6th to be your political obituary?’ Graham said. ‘Because if you don’t get over it, it’s going to be.’
Lindsey Graham has been one of Trump’s most staunch allies, but he has warned the warned the former president that he need to drop his obsession with the 2020 election
Since his defeat to Joe Biden in 2020, Trump has doubled down on false claims that the election was ‘rigged’ and made repeated allegations that he only lost because of voter fraud
According to the New York Times, during his frequent golfing trips to Mar-a-Lago, Graham is still trying to persuade Trump to ‘take it down a notch’ and play by the rules.
Graham initially backed Trump’s claims about election fraud in the aftermath of the his defeat to Joe Biden in November, but after the January 6 riot he made a dramatic speech declaring ‘count me out’.
He added: ‘Enough is enough. I’ve tried to be helpful.’ He said he and Trump have had ‘a hell of a journey,’ and ‘I hate it to end this way.’
Graham has since ‘clarified’ that he only meant he was no longer supporting Trump on his electoral fraud claims, and that he is still supportive of the man himself.
Trump supporters storm the Capitol building on January 6 through a window they broke
Several Republicans have joined the ranks of Democrats in blaming Trump for the storming on January 6, claiming he ‘incited an insurrection’ by riling up a crowd of thousands of his supporters right before they descended on Capitol Hill.
Before the riot, Trump spoke at a ‘Save America March’ rally in which he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol Building to stop the result being certified.
While Trump has denounced the violence and condemned their actions, he has not taken responsibility for any involvement in the scene.
In Many this year as Trump re-asserting his claims of a ‘stolen’ presidency, Graham told South Carolina reporters that the 2020 election was ‘over’ for him and he accepted the results.
Donald Trump speaks at ‘Save America March’ rally in Washington D.C. on January 06, 2021
The Capitol protest left hundreds injured and five dead, including a Capitol Police officer who was hit over the head by a rioter with a fire-hydrant
According to The Hill, he said: ‘2020 is over to me, I’m ready to march on and hopefully take back the House and the Senate in 2022.’
Graham was initially skeptical of Trump’s run for president back in 2016.
He even denounced Trump as a ‘bigot’ in CNN on 2015 – but changed his tune after Trump beat rival Hillary Clinton.
Graham, who grew up in grinding poverty and lost both parents at a young age, is long said to have desired to be close to those in power, meaning he was happy to alter his strongly-held opinions to get close to Trump, according to the Times.
Meanwhile, Trump is said to have warmed to Graham despite the senator’s harsh criticism, because he likes people who were initially skeptical of him, but who are won over upon meeting him.
The unlikely friendship is also said to have caused a strain on Graham’s friendship with John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, who was Trump’s most vociferous critic within his own party until his death from a brain tumor in 2018.
He has often been spotted golfing with Trump and has been a regular visitor at Mar-a-Lago since the former president’s defeat, discussing plans for Republicans in the 2022 election cycle.
Trump has frequently teased his plans to run in the 2024 election, but has not yet made a formal statement.