Trump Rips Republican Senator 'Progressive,' Here's What Happened When He Said His Name
Former president and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday and during his speech, he took a shot at South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, even though the senator has endorsed Trump for 2024.
To be sure, Graham has been a big supporter of the ex-president. In fact, just last month he actually laid down a $20 bet that Trump would win a second term in 2024.
Still, at one point during his campaign speech on Thursday, Trump brought up the often centrist Republican and called him a “progressive,” a term usually reserved for the extreme left in American politics today.
Trump was speaking about his economic policies during his first term, especially when it concerns his ideas on tariffs. He noted that he favored a plan for “reciprocal” tariffs where if a foreign nation charges us a tariff on goods, we return that charge right back on their products.
“It’s called reciprocal,” Trump told his audience. “So, if India charges our companies a hundred, we charge their companies a hundred, it’s very simple.”
President Trump on Lindsey Graham:
“The progressive from South Carolina. No, he’s a progressive. But he’s got some good things too, OK?” pic.twitter.com/vPckIqZGhB
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) April 27, 2023
“And yet we have people in Congress that say, ‘No, I don’t think that’s good,'” Trump continued. “Anybody that says that — so, it’s very interesting, Lindsey Graham, the progressive from South Carolina,” he said, as some in the crowd hooted and booed.
“No, he’s a progressive. But he’s got some good things, too, OK?” Trump said. “But Lindsey Graham, I said to him, ‘Lindsey, you gotta go along with this,’ we were all set to get it done. ‘You gotta go along with this.’ So he says, ‘Let me get this straight, if they charge us, we charge them the same thing.'”
Trump did note that in his recollection, Graham claimed that tariff policy wasn’t his strong suit.
“He said it’s not his strength,” Trump recalled, “other things are his strength,” but in the end, Trump noted that Graham said, “You got my vote.”
“So easy,” Trump concluded.
As mentioned above, Graham, who warned never Trumpers to back off back in 2021, has already endorsed Trump for 2024 saying that he means no slight to others such as Nikki Haley or Tim Scott.
“It’s not anything about Nikki or Tim that I find fault in. It’s about the ability of President Trump to get things done that should be done,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union” show last weekend.
However, it is beyond doubt that Graham is not a favorite of the Make America Great Again crowd and many conservatives view him with suspicion as the ultimate RINO, despite more recent turns toward the MAGA ideals. Graham, was, after all, one of the biggest supporters of the much-reviled RINO squish John McCain.
But Trump has supported Graham repeatedly over the years, support that has annoyed many of the ex-president’s own voters who view Graham as at least a RINO, and maybe worse.
On the other hand, as The Hill noted, Trump has also scolded Graham before, too. In 2022, for instance, he called Graham a RINO for the senator’s reluctance to pardon anyone found guilty of acts of vandalism during the Jan. 6 incursion.
So, Trump has walked both sides of the line when it concerns Lindsey Graham.
Clearly, Trump understands that his base does not like Graham. But more specifically, Trump also knows that his supporters don’t like any other establishment Republican, either. So, Trump likely threw that “progressive” dig at Graham to soften his story about Graham supporting the Trump economic plan.
It’s a fine line Trump is walking. It remains to be seen if it helps him on either, both, or none of the sides of that line.
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