Lindsey Graham has become so close to Donald Trump that the president and South Carolina’s senior senator have gone golfing together twice in the same week.
It’s an unusual relationship, considering Graham has been one of the GOP’s most frequent critics of Trump. The two have clashed repeatedly going back to the 2016 Republican primary race, and Graham publicly declined to vote for Trump last November.
So why are the two now close? Politico reported Monday the bond was formed because Graham was one of the last Republican senators still pushing for a repeal of Obamacare.
Even after GOP leaders had moved on from the healthcare issue — after multiple proposals failed to win majority Senate approval this summer — Graham pushed ahead with his own bill, co-sponsored with U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
The idea was scheduled for a vote in late September, but ultimately was dropped when it became apparent it didn’t have the votes to pass.
“One thing he likes, I think, about me, is I don’t quit. It wasn’t enough to just move on after health care. I said: 'BS,' ” Graham said in an interview about his budding relationship with the president.
“He saw in me a guy that had an idea that made sense and was willing to fight. So that’s created sort of a bond.”
Political observers are skeptical if any goodwill between Graham, R-Seneca, and the often-mercurial Trump will last.
“The president does not have a track record of disagreeing agreeably,” Joel Sawyer, a S.C. political consultant, told Politico. “The interesting part to see: After the golf trips, the next time Sen. Graham decides he cannot back the president on something, what the president's reaction is going to be."