- Sen. Lindsey Graham issued a series of light-hearted jokes about Donald Trump
- ‘You know what we have in common? I like him and he likes him,’ he said
- Came during remarks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Summit on Friday in Las Vegas – Trump will make his own remarks on Saturday
Sen. Lindsey Graham was in a cheeky mood Friday evening as he took several light-hearted swipes at his ally Donald Trump.
While speaking to a conference center full of Jewish voters in Las Vegas, Neada, the South Carolina senator said it took him a while to warm up to the former president, who he has now endorsed in his third bid for the White House.
Once upon a time Graham was running against Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary and had some fierce words against his competitor at the time.
‘I want to say one thing about Trump,’ Graham said on Friday. ‘He’s a handful.’
‘But all the bad guys are scared of him and I’m glad of that,’ the lawmaker added in his remarks centered around foreign policy in the Middle East in the midst of the conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
Graham was speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Summit at the conclusion of Shabbat dinner on Friday evening.
Sen. Lindsey Graham issued a series of light-hearted jokes about Donald Trump – including calling him a ‘handful’ and an ‘a**hole – during remarks at a Jewish conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday
Between his sentences about Trump, Graham would giggle, crack a smile or outright laugh a little with the crowd. ‘It’s good to laugh,’ he noted at one point.
‘So what happened with me and Trump?’ Graham asked with a knowing grin.
The comment is ironic considering this is the question many Republicans have asked themselves when it comes to Graham and Trump’s topsy-turvy relationship over the years.
Once a staunch critic of the ex-President, Graham now fiercely stands behind Trump. But, some speculate that he doesn’t exactly have the best view of the president still. Despite his jokes on Friday, Graham says he came to ‘like’ Trump.
‘I was one of the 29 people who ran for president in 2016,’ Graham recalled, overexaggerating the crowded GOP primary field – but not by a lot.
‘If you don’t remember that, it’s not your fault, I didn’t last very long,’ Graham self-deprecated.
‘I hated Trump,’ he said to roars of laughter from hundreds in the Jewish voting-bloc as he struggled to hold back his own giggles. ‘I thought he was a complete a**hole.’
‘So, I got to know the guy. We play a lot of golf together. I’ve actually come to like him,’ he said.
‘You know what we have in common? I like him and he likes him.’
Despite his early endorsement of Trump in the 2024 primary, it’s not immediately clear if Graham even wants him as the nominee anymore.
It’s also unclear if the senator’s jokes Friday evening had any truth behind them.
There are about a dozen other Republicans running for the GOP nomination in 2024, but none have come close to closing the polling gap with Trump.
‘We have a group of people seeking the Republican nomination who are unbelievably talented – choose wisely,’ Graham said.
He then added to laughter: ‘And we have Donald Trump, who will be here tomorrow.’
Graham and Trump have had a relationship in flux ever since they ran against each other in the 2016 presidential primary election. But Graham was an early endorser of Trump in his latest bid for the White House
‘He called me this morning. He said, ‘Where are you?’ I said, ‘I’m in Las Vegas.’ He said, ‘I’m coming to Las Vegas.’ I said, ‘I know,’ Graham recounted.
The South Carolina senator gave his kudos to two other Palmetto Staters running in the primary – Sen. Tim Scott and former Gov. Nikki Haley, who was also a UN Ambassador under Trump.
Graham’s comments flurried with jest-filled swipes at Trump on Friday, come the day before the ex-president is scheduled to make his own remarks to the same group of Jewish voters.
Haley and Scott will also both speak on Saturday.