Politics & Government

Art of the deal? Graham praises Trump after playing round of golf with the president

Trump says Lindsey Graham is now his friend

At a rally in Columbia, SC, Donald Trump talks about Sen. Lindsey Graham and their once rocky relationship.
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At a rally in Columbia, SC, Donald Trump talks about Sen. Lindsey Graham and their once rocky relationship.

The Columbus Day holiday was recognized on Monday. Many enjoyed a day off, while several others spent time in the office or doing work.

For Lindsey Graham, he might have done a little of both. Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted he spent his afternoon playing golf – with President Donald Trump.

“Really enjoyed a round of golf with President @realDonaldTrump today,” Graham put on Twitter after the pair returned from playing at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.

Did Graham have an agenda when he hit the front nine with Trump? Or were they doing what many other Americans were doing while enjoying a day off?

It was a slightly unusual pairing.

Trump was Graham’s nemesis on the 2016 campaign trail, where the senior senator from South Carolina failed to gain traction as Trump cruised to the Republican Party nomination.

During the campaign, Graham called Trump a “jackass,” before Trump responded, calling Graham a “lightweight” and an “idiot.” He even gave out Graham’s private phone number, urging supporters to “try it.”

But the two have grown closer recently. Trump voiced support for Graham’s failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

And Graham has rallied to support Trump in his opposition of North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear program.

With little to be done about Obamacare or Kim Jong Un Monday, what were these political heavyweights discussing on the links?

The White House said they “discussed (their) legislative priorities including immigration, tax reform, government funding and health care, according to a report on thehill.com.

“We have a very aggressive fall agenda, and will continue meeting and working with members of congress to get things accomplished.”

It’s very likely immigration was a key point of discussion for Trump and Graham, who traveled to the golf course together earlier Monday.

Graham is co-sponsoring the DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for many recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

On Sunday, the White House revealed a sweeping set of hardline immigration demands – including the building of a wall on the southern border and major changes to the legal immigration system – as tradeoffs for legislation to protect the Dreamers.

If Graham harbored an ill will over the Trump administration’s plan, he didn’t show any animosity after the golf outing. In fact, Graham gushed over Trump’s golfing prowess.

“President Trump shot a 73 in windy and wet conditions!” Graham tweeted.

Par at the Trump golf course is 71, meaning Trump shot 2-over – an excellent score for an amateur golfer. Many on Twitter took notice and poked fun or blatantly criticized Graham, but Trump is a regular golfer and has owned courses for years.

Graham said he didn’t fare nearly as well.

“How bad did he beat me? I did better in the presidential race than today on the golf course!”

Graham hasn’t always been so effusive with his praise of Trump. Graham has been critical of Trump’s affinity for Russia and its leadership in addition to the president’s response to the protests in Charlottesville and his delayed denouncement of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.

But on Monday, he was happy to be in Trump’s presence.

“Great fun. Great host,” Graham tweeted.

Who knows, maybe he laid the groundwork to get a deal done with Trump.

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