(USA Features) Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday he has warned former President Donald Trump to stop talking up claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and stolen from him or else he will destroy his otherwise successful political legacy and will be defined instead by his allegation.
A report by The New York Times quotes the South Carolina Republican and staunch ally of the former president as saying he thinks he can make Trump an even more powerful, unifying figure within the GOP.
However, he can only do that if Trump moves on from fixating on the outcome of the 2020 election.
“What I say to him is, ‘Do you want January the 6th to be your political obituary?'” Graham said, according to the Times. “Because if you don’t get over it, it’s going to be.”
Graham also told the Times that comments he made following the Jan. 6 breach which appeared to be critical of Trump were taken out of context.
Prior to the rioting, Graham had publicly given Trump the benefit of doubt when it came to then-president’s claims to have evidence of widespread voting irregularities and fraud.
But afterward, Graham took to the Senate floor and proclaimed, “Count me out! Enough is enough!”
“That was taken as, ‘I’m out, count me out,’ that somehow, you know, that I’m done with the president,” said Graham, who is a regular visitor to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where they both golf together.
“No! What I was trying to say to my colleagues and to the country was, ‘This process has come to a conclusion,'” Graham told the Times.
“The president had access to the courts. He was able to make his case to state legislators through hearings. He was disappointed he fell short. It didn’t work out. It was over for me,” he said.
In June, Graham, who was a bitter rival of Trump’s during the 2016 GOP primaries, joked about how he came to like the future president.
“We came to find common ground, that common ground is that he likes him, and I’ve come to like him,” Graham quipped while speaking at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference.
“That will get you through 18 holes of golf,” he added. “The front nine is about why he likes him, the back nine is why I like him.”
He also mentioned the 2022 elections and what that means for the “party of Trump.”
“If we win in 2022, it means the party of Trump is not dead and buried it is still alive,” Graham said.
“If we can pull this off, take back the House and the Senate then 2024 becomes ours to lose. Imagine four more years of Donald Trump policies,” Graham added.