South Carolina’s senior Sen. Lindsey Graham – one of Donald Trump’s most outspoken critics within the Republican Party – congratulated the Republican candidate on his presidential victory early Wednesday, hours after he voted against Trump.
In a statement, Graham says that after the election, “we now have a country to run,” and names several areas he hopes to work on with the president-elect, include “keeping trade free but fairer,” rebuilding the military, repealing President Obama’s health care law, and confirming new Supreme Court justices.
While other Republican officeholders have struggled with the question of whether they should vote for the party’s nominee, Graham has long been adament he could never support on Trump.
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On Election Day, he followed through on that opposition. Graham announced on Twitter that he voted for an independent conservative candidate, Evan McMullin, rather than pull the lever for the Republican in the race.
McMullin, a former CIA officer and policy director for Republicans in the U.S. House, is running for president to give dissatisfied Republicans like Graham a presidential option other than the New York billionaire. He’s drawn attention for running close in the polls to both Clinton and Trump in his native Utah.
“I appreciate his views on a strong America and the need to rebuild our military,” Graham said of McMullin.
The senator said voting for Clinton was always a “non-starter” and that he “couldn’t go where Donald Trump wanted to take the USA & GOP.”