Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina, who only recently abandoned his own presidential campaign, said today that he must “re-evaluate" whether he would support Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy should the New Yorker win the GOP nomination. Graham, who is one of the most hawkish of Senate Republicans, was outraged by remarks Trump made over the Feb. 13-14 weekend about former President George W. Bush. Graham said, "I've got to really re-evaluate that after what he said about George W. Bush." He added, "There's just the kooky people in the world; the mainstream Democratic party opposition to Bush did not go where Donald Trump went."
Republicans, heretofore, have been loath to violate what President Ronald Reagan called in his autobiography, 'An American Life', the "Eleventh Commandment": "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It's a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since."
Speaking on the “Good Morning America” program, Graham said today he will "have to sit down and think about what it means to have somebody running as the nominee of the Republican Party to accuse the past president of willfully lying about the facts and circumstances of Iraq, and being responsible for 9/11." In times past, Graham had said that he would support whomever becomes the GOP nominee. "That's something that really only comes from the kook part of America," Graham said. He compared Trump’s accusation that George W. Bush is a liar and the cause of 9/11 is in the realm of "Michael Moore stuff."
Turning to the coming primary in his home state, Graham expressed confidence that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush can win the primary, despite surging poll numbers for Trump. Graham said, "Jeb is definitely surging; Donald Trump will not win the nomination.”
As for the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the resulting vacancy, Graham said that it will be difficult to find consensus among senators for any nominee President Obama presents. "I don't know how that plays out. There's two things going on at the same time. It's very rare that you get a nomination and a selection in the same year. I don't think that's happened very much," Graham said.
Graham put the name of senior Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) into the ring. For his part, Obama has not yet issued any names. However, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is rumored to be on the short list. (See Spero coverage). As for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), he has already said that he will filibuster over any Obama nominee.
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