Lindsey Graham 'literally laughed off' Trump effort to fulfill vendetta against Mitch McConnell: report
During a January 12 appearance on Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina declared that any Republican who wants a leadership position in Congress must have a “working relationship with President Donald Trump” — which would exclude Sen. Mitch McConnell, as there is bad blood between Trump and the Senate minority leader. But according to the Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng, the South Carolina senator was unreceptive when Trump floated the idea of Graham replacing McConnell as the top Republican in the U.S. Senate.
“Since leaving office,” Suebsaeng explains in an article published on February 23, “former President Donald Trump has made no mystery of his desire to exact revenge on Mitch McConnell, by rallying pro-Trump senators to block McConnell from returning to his perch as majority leader. But the ex-president has been tight-lipped about who, exactly, he would want to back as McConnell’s prospective dethroner.”
Suebsaeng continues, “However, in private conversations with close associates over the past several months, at Mar-a-Lago and elsewhere, Trump has batted around a handful of GOP senators’ names in his quest to stick it to the riot-averse ‘dumb son of a bitch’ McConnell.”
According to two Daily Beast sources, Trump has asked advisers, “Do you think Lindsey could do it?”
“Various Trump allies and lawmakers have already told the former president that it would be a bad idea to try to oust McConnell, which would risk sparking further intra-party tumult at this point in the Biden era,” Suebsaeng reports. “It also doesn’t help that Graham, one of the senators on Trump’s shortlist of preferred leaders, says he isn’t even interested in taking Minority Leader McConnell’s former job, and literally laughed off the idea when asked about Trump’s proposal for his future.”
The Beast interviewed Graham on Monday, February 21, asking him if he would like to replace McConnell as the U.S. Senate’s top Republican — and Graham, laughing, replied “not me” and “no.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Republicans will retake the U.S. Senate in the 2022 midterms and take away the razor-thin majority that Democrats presently have. If so, Trump doesn’t want to see McConnell become Senate majority leader again. But as Suebsaeng notes, Trump hasn’t gotten far in his anti-McConnell project.
Although Graham told the Beast he has no interest in taking over McConnell’s leadership position, he continues to defend Trump vigorously in interviews — and Trump, Suebsaeng observes with sarcasm, has rewarded Graham’s “continued fealty” by describing him as a RINO: Republican In Name Only.
McConnell, meanwhile, avoids talking about Trump publicly. But behind the scenes, Suebsaeng writes, McConnell has been trying to decrease Trump’s influence in the GOP.
The Daily Beast also interviewed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally, for Suebsaeng’s article, asking him to weigh in on the Trump/McConnell feud. Gingrich responded, “Republicans have a great chance to win this fall — and we ought to focus on the Democrats.”
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