Lindsey Graham has claimed that Donald Trump “could destroy” the GOP, amid concerns about the party’s 2024 election chances.
Mr Graham, a North Carolina senator and Trump ally, said in an interview that aired Sunday that he was trying to “harness” the so-called “dark magic” of the former US president, since his departure from office in January.
“What I’m trying to do is just harness the magic,” Mr Graham said of Mr Trump, who he admitted could also “destroy” the GOP in four years time with an alleged “dark side”, or make the party “more diverse”.
“He could make the Republican Party something that nobody else I know could make it,” Mr Graham told Axios reporter Jonathan Swan on HBO.
“He could make it bigger. He could make it stronger. He could make it more diverse. And he also could destroy it.”
The senator added that there “was something about Trump” that former Republican candidates didn’t have, as he defended his support for the former president in recent weeks.
Mr Trump, according to Mr Graham, represented a “movement” whose policies were “the best way” forward for the GOP in the future — despite the events of the Capitol riot, or allegations of election fraud.
“I want us to continue the policies that I think will make America strong,” said Mr Graham. “I believe the best way for the Republican Party to do that is with Trump, not without Trump.”
The senator went on to say that “Donald Trump was my friend before the riot, and I’m trying to keep a relationship with him after the riot. I still consider him a friend.”
Mr Graham, who said challenged Mr Trump’s first candidacy before siding with him, added that “What happened was a dark day in American history and we’re going to move forward.”
The interview comes almost a week after the former president appeared on stage at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and suggested he was considering a 2024 presidential run.
The GOP, at the same time, remains divided about it’s future direction, with Mr Trump not ruling out a future bid for office following an election defeat and second impeachment for inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol.
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