‘You can be a better critic when people understand that you’re trying to help them be successful…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he wished John McCain had been able to reconcile his differences with President Trump during his life.
“I regret that he didn’t have more time with President Trump,” Graham told the Associated Press.
Referring to McCain’s capture during the Vietnam War and his choice to forgive his captors, Graham said, “Who knows what would have happened over time?”
Though Graham, one of the many primary challengers Trump defeated en route to the Republican nomination, has had his own share of friction, the South Carolina statesman and longtime McCain friend ultimately chose instead to ally himself with the president.
He said it was McCain who taught him to recognize that the country must move forward.
“You have an obligation [to help the president],” Graham said. “And I’ve tried to be helpful where I could because I think he needs all the help he can get. You can be a better critic when people understand that you’re trying to help them be successful.”
Graham, who is up for re-election in 2020, said South Carolinians voted for Trump and “want to give this country a chance.”
“The president won the state decisively,” Graham said. “He’s very popular among Republicans, and people want him to succeed.”
Graham said he is still wary of the characteristics that first turned him away from Trump. He said the president can “run hot” and “be a handful,” but noted that, now, Trump listens more readily.
“Over time, through golf, I’ve actually gotten to know the person,” Graham said. “[He can be both] charming and gracious.”
Bob McAlister, a political communications strategist who has worked with Graham for decades, said Graham’s beliefs have stayed the same over the years and that he hasn’t changed for Trump.
“Lindsey’s message back then was ‘Elections have consequences,’ and the Democrats cheered,” McAlister said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Today, Lindsey says, ‘Elections have consequences,’ and they try to cut his head off.”