Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said if former President Donald Trump wins his party’s nomination in 2024, he could face problems if the race becomes a “personality contest”.
Speaking to reporter Steve Sedgwick on CNBC on Saturday, the Trump ally praised the former president, saying he ‘could be’ the best Republican presidential candidate, calling Trump a ‘consequent president’ . Trump, so far, has not announced his candidacy.
“I think a strong, unpredictable American president is a good thing as long as you keep him within limits. His problem is personal, his policy has stood the test of time but has he worn down the American people in terms of personality “Time will tell. But I will say this, after Biden’s presidency, if there is a political debate in 2024, I like his chances. If it’s a personality contest, he’ll be in trouble,” Graham said.
During the interview, Graham also addressed comments he made earlier this week on Fox News predicting “riots in the streets” if Trump is prosecuted over the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago by FBI agents following a raid. Graham said he was simply trying to “state the obvious”, citing then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“Here’s what I said, the raid on [former] The house of President Trump, the likely 2024 nominee, better pay off here,” Graham said. “If it’s just mishandling of classified information, we’ve set a standard when it comes to Hillary Clinton.
“Our country, the people on our side, believe that when it comes to the justice system, there are no rules when it comes to Trump, [it’s a case of] ‘catch it no matter how you catch it’ so I said if it’s similar to what happened to Clinton and he’s prosecuted it’s going to be one of the most disruptive events in America,” he continued.
While Graham publicly disapproved of Trump’s handling of the Jan. 6, 2021 riots — and again condemned Trump’s idea of pardoning the rioters in Saturday’s interview — he also repeatedly supported Trump’s re-election in 2024. Graham told Trump that if he is able to win the 2024 election, it would be the “greatest comeback in American history,” according to Danger by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Last December, Graham told Fox News host Pete Hegseth that “2024 is President Trump’s election to lose, quite frankly.”
“What he should do, in my humble opinion, is remind people how he secured the border, how he led the fight against ISIS, destroyed the caliphate, how we were so much better off international community – the Iran deal is a nightmare in the making for Israel – has regained its energy independence,” Graham said at the time.
In July, Graham was subpoenaed by a Georgia grand jury investigating Trump’s alleged attempts to overturn the state’s election results. Graham is accused of suggesting that the Georgian secretary of state reject legal ballots during the election. In Saturday’s interview, he says that while Trump “honestly believes” he was “cheated” in the 2020 election, Graham supports the legitimacy of President Joe Biden.
“Mr. President, I am not trying to tell you to change your beliefs. I am trying to tell you that you have no chance of winning in 2020 but you have a good chance of winning in 2024 if you wish ,” Graham said he told Trump.
Newsweek contacted the former president’s office for comment.