During the 2016 Republican primary season, most of the GOP presidential candidates were not big fans of then-businessman Donald Trump, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham was certainly no exception.
Since Trump won the election and took office, Graham has come around somewhat and has been fairly supportive of the president’s agenda, though he still offers up softened criticism of Trump’s words and deeds at times like many other members of the Republican establishment.
According to Mediaite, Graham appears to have delivered a grab bag of criticism and praise of the president during a speech to the Columbia Rotary Club on Monday.
The remarks from the senator on a variety of topics were documented in a handful of tweets from a local reporter in attendance at the speech, Andy Shain of The Charleston Post and Courier.
— Andy Shain (@AndyShain) May 7, 2018
At one point Graham related how he had told the Chinese ambassador, “If you don’t think Trump’s crazy, then you’re crazy.”
While on it’s face that may come across as criticism, consider how that actually may have proven helpful to the bigger picture of Trump’s agenda as it pertains to military and trade relations with China and especially North Korea.
Trump’s bellicose rhetoric toward North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — which in essence appears to have brought Kim to the discussion table for peace talks — painted the picture that Trump was just “crazy” enough to actually back up his “fire and fury” rhetoric with actual furious fire from the military if Kim continued to threaten the region.
Today there is real talk and skeptical optimism that North Korea may denuclearize and reach a peace agreement with their South Korean neighbors, a turn of events that has led to calls for Trump to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, which Graham also addressed.
The senator said Trump should indeed be awarded the prestigious prize if he is able to bring about peace on the Korean peninsula, though he joked that the awarded prize “would be the first with mass casualties” because so many anti-Trump liberals would jump off buildings as a result.
.@LindseyGrahamSC repeats that @realDonaldTrump should win Nobel if he brokers peace with North Korea, though it “would be the first with mass casualties” because so many liberals would jump off buildings. pic.twitter.com/CgDU0QSqV0
— Andy Shain (@AndyShain) May 7, 2018
As representative of the sort of grab bag of descriptors Graham has used to criticize and praise the president, he described Trump to the crowd as “volatile,” a “handful,” but also a “genius.”
Graham also suggested that Trump should exit the much-maligned Iran nuclear deal, because “I can’t think of a worst place to have a nuclear arms race than the Middle East,” he said.
It wasn’t all high praise of Trump’s agenda though, as Graham opposed pulling out of the NAFTA trade deal, which would be an “absolute disaster” for his state, and suggested the Robert Mueller special counsel probe be allowed to continue, though he also called for a more thorough investigation at the same time of failed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
He also addressed the recent rumors that close friend and ailing Arizona Sen. John McCain had specifically requested Trump not attend his funeral. “I have no idea if that’s true,” Graham said. “There’s a lot of things being said.”
Nobody will ever mistake Trump and Graham as best buds, but that doesn’t mean Graham won’t help Trump achieve their mutual goals of gaining an upper hand on China and North Korea and other rivals.
Graham may have done just that by deliberately perpetuating the perception that Trump is so “crazy” and unpredictable as to not be underestimated or trifled with, and for that we thank him.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.