South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham had harsh words for his fellow Utah Republican Sen.-elect Mitt Romney on Wednesday after the newly elected senator wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post attacking President Donald Trump’s character.
Graham joined Brian Kilmeade on Fox News radio to discuss the incoming senator’s op-ed and Graham did not hold back. When asked about the wisdom of Romney publishing such a piece so early into his time in Washington, Graham said bluntly, “Well, how does it work to the advantage of the people of Utah?”
Graham said he knows Romney well.
“He decided to go back into public service; I’m glad he did,” Graham said of Romney. “Now, what drove him back into public service? Was it to be a foe of President Trump? I hope not because I don’t think the people of Utah voted for him to do that.”
Graham advised Romney that Trump is “the easiest guy in Washington to get a hold of.”
Senator Graham said:
He really cares about what you think and what more can you ask if you’re a member of the United States Senate than have a chance to talk with the president and share your views. That will not happen if he believes you are out to get him. So I’m hoping that Mitt will sit down with the president privately, share his concerns with the president about whatever drives his thinking but also commit to the president that I want you to be successful and I’m here to help you. If he will do that he can be a very effective senator. If he’s going to be the critic from Utah, it’s going to hurt him and Utah.
“Trump is not short of critics,” Graham went on to say. “What he’s short of is people who will sit down with him and tell him the truth as they see it and help him make good decisions. He is our president. I will support him in 2020.”
Graham concluded by issuing a dire warning to Romney about the fleeting praise of the media and urged him to learn from what happened to Brett Kavanaugh.
“The people who are applauding Romney today for standing up to Trump and going after Trump will turn on Romney the moment he votes for something that they don’t like,” Graham said.
He’s got to learn from Kavanaugh. It’s really not about Trump, it’s about us. It’s about conservatism. They want to destroy the conservative movement, not just Trump. Kavanaugh was the Bush guy, Brian, he wasn’t the Trump guy. Trump picked somebody from the Bush world who was highly qualified, that brought the party together. Instead of smooth sailing, rewarding the president to pick somebody highly qualified, the Democrats chose to try to destroy Kavanaugh.
“What I want Sen. Romney to know, it’s not just about Trump — it’s about us,” Graham warned, “And remember what they tried to do to you, Mitt, when they got through with you? You were a bad guy. The truth is, you’re a good guy, but in their world you will always be a bad guy if you try to cross them on policy.” (RELATED: Mitt Romney Writes Anti-Trump Op-Ed, Questions Trump’s Character)
Graham was not the only Republican to chastise Romney for the move.
Rand Paul came out swinging against Romney, comparing him to Republicans who attacked Reagan when it was popular. “Like other big-government Republicans who never liked Reagan, Mitt Romney wants to signal how virtuous he is in comparison to the President,” Paul tweeted.
Like other Big Government Republicans who never liked Reagan, Mitt Romney wants to signal how virtuous he is in comparison to the President. Well, I’m most concerned and pleased with the actual conservative reform agenda @realDonaldTrump has achieved.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 2, 2019
Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the op-ed “disappointing and unproductive.” Mitt Romney is Ronna McDaniel’s uncle.
McDaniel tweeted, “POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive.”
POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive. https://t.co/ArhI7Bi7bo
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) January 2, 2019
Trump endorsed Romney for his Senate race and his presidential run in 2012. Romney sought a cabinet position in the early Trump administration but did not get it. Romney went on to accept Trump’s nomination in his senate race in Utah. Trump’s response to the Romney op-ed was to call on Romney to “Be a TEAM player & WIN!”
Romney attacked Trump’s character in an opinion piece for The Washington Post published Tuesday just days before he is to be sworn into the Senate.
In the op-ed, Romney writes, “To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow ‘our better angels.’ And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”