Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) didn’t mince words when expressing his disapproval of former President Donald Trump’s recent controversial comments regarding Hezbollah and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In an interview with Kristen Welker on NBC’s Meet the Press, Graham addressed the backlash following Trump’s speech in Florida, where he referred to Hezbollah as “very smart” and criticized Netanyahu’s handling of a recent terrorist attack.
Welker probed Graham about the implications of Trump’s statements, particularly questioning whether the language used was “shameful,” a sentiment echoed by Israel’s communication minister. Graham, not holding back, labeled Trump’s remarks as a “huge mistake,” indicating his strong disapproval of the former president’s choice of words.
Further delving into Trump’s criticism of Netanyahu, Welker highlighted the perceived personal nature of the attack, given Netanyahu’s recognition of President Joe Biden as the legitimate president. She inquired whether Graham deemed such comments appropriate given the circumstances. Graham responded in the negative, emphasizing that he found Trump’s remarks to be unhelpful, aligning with the sentiment that such rhetoric could exacerbate already delicate political dynamics.
When pressed on whether Trump’s comments might be considered “disqualifying,” Graham opted not to provide a direct answer, deflecting the question and evading speculation on the 2024 election. Meanwhile, Graham’s reluctance to fully condemn Trump’s comments becomes more intriguing when considering Trump’s recent public defense of the senator at rallies, where the crowd’s negative reception was met with Trump’s vocal support, highlighting their political collaboration despite differences in approach and rhetoric.
Graham’s unequivocal disapproval of Trump’s recent statements, combined with his refusal to engage in future election speculation, underscores the complexity of intra-party dynamics and the delicate balance many Republican politicians face when navigating their relationship with the former president.
“Israel’s communication minister called that language shameful,” Welker said. “Do you agree? Is that shameful language?”
“That was a huge mistake,” Graham replied.
Welker then pressed the senator about Trump’s Netanyahu criticism — in which the former president said the prime minister was “not prepared” for last Saturday’s terrorist attack by Hamas.
“A lot of people saw that as a personal attack because Netanyahu has recognized President [Joe] Biden as the duly elected president,” Welker said. “Do you think that’s appropriate at this moment?!”
“No,” Graham said. “I thought it was not helpful.”
The Meet the Press moderator went on to ask if Trump’s comments are “disqualifying,” but Graham punted.
“I’m not here talking about the ’24 election, he said.”