Failed GOP presidential candidate Sen Lindsey Graham calls Republican front runner Donald Trump a ‘nutjob’ and jokes about killing (Sen) Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate
Senator Lindsey Graham held nothing back when talking about his former opponents in the Republican race for the White House, concluding that his party ‘has gone bats**t crazy.’
The outspoken lawmaker from South Carolina delivered his scathing remarks Thursday at the 72nd annual Washington Press Club Foundation dinner, which coincided with the tenth Republican presidential debate in Texas.
Graham had some harsh words for each of the five remaining presidential hopefuls, but Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, arguably bore the brunt of his withering sarcasm.
The Donald’s secret fan: Senator Lindsey Graham donned a hat bearing Donald Trump’s slogan and mock-endorsed the GOP frontrunner after earlier calling him a ‘nutjob’
‘A good Republican would defend Ted Cruz after tonight. That ain’t happening,’ Graham said with a smile,’ drawing laughter from a crowd consisting of 750 members of Congress, journalists and congressional aides. ‘If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.’
Graham, 67, was referencing Cruz’s reputation as a deeply unpopular figure on Capitol Hill who does not get along with his colleagues.
Later in his no-holds-barred roast, Graham again turned him attention to Cruz, joking that the Texas senator will drop out of the race during Canadian week at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when expats from the north enjoy 10 per cent discounts in town.
GOP front-runner Donald Trump has contended that Cruz was ineligible to run for president because he was born in Canada.
‘But I will say our Canadian is better than your [Democrats’] Kenyan,’ Graham added, drawing jeers from the crowd with his ‘birther’ dig at President Barack Obama.
The South Carolina Republican did not miss an opportunity to skewer Hillary Clinton, who could be facing a federal indictment for using a private email server to send sensitive, government-related material.
‘The most dishonest person in America is a woman who is about to be president,’ Graham told the audience after making a joke about how far women have come in this country. ‘How could that be? My party has gone bats**t crazy.’
Graham also did not mince words when speaking of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, whom he mocked as the ‘boy wonder,’ reported NBC News.
Skewered: Graham joked that ‘If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you’
Thirsty: Bringing to mind a moment from 2013 when Senator Marco Rubio became an object of mockery after reaching for a bottle of water during a televised speech, Graham quipped that the ‘Secret Service’s main job when he’s president is to keep him hydrated’
Credibility problem: Graham blasted Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as ‘the most dishonest person in America’
‘I’m not saying he would change his position — but he changes his position,’ Graham said. ‘The Secret Service’s main job when he’s president is to keep him hydrated.’
Rubio became an object of widespread ridicule in 2013 when he awkwardly reached for a bottle of water while delivering the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
The sharp-tongued keynote speaker also took a couple of swipes at Dr Ben Carson and John Kasich, who have been consistently lagging in the polls.
‘’To the women who left the kitchen tonight to come, thank you all very much. John Kasich needs your help. He’s the moderate with the good heart,’ Graham quipped, calling to mind a comment that the Ohio governor made during a stomp speech earlier this week, telling a crowd in Virginia that women ‘left their kitchens’ to support him when he was running for a state office in 1978.
Kasich later had to apologize for the gaffe after being accused of sexism.
Speaking of Carson, Graham told the audience: ‘the nice guy is Ben Carson; he tried to kill his cousin… he’s the one we all like. How did I lose to these guys?’
Turning to the front-runner of the GOP race, real estate billionaire Donald Trump, Graham turned serious sayings: ‘The Donald. I am, literally, running out of adjectives.
‘I know I’m supposed to be funny, but I’m not really happy about where the country is right now.
‘I could make a million Donald Trump jokes, and I have, but our party and our country is going to have to up its game – you’re going to have to ask him hard questions, and I don’t mean to turn a funny thing into a serious thing — but anytime Mitt Romney thinks you should turn over your taxes, we’ve probably given him [Trump] a pass.’
No laughing matter: Turning serious, Graham said the GOP has been giving front-runner Donald Trump a pass
Kicking them while they’re down: Graham also took swipes at Ohio Governor John Kasich (left), whom he mocked for his recent ‘women in the kitchen’ comment, and Dr Ben Carson, whom the South Carolina senator called a ‘nice guy’ who tried to kill his cousin
During Thursday’s night contentious GOP debate on CNN, Trump repeatedly said he was waiting for the IRS to complete its audit of his finances before releasing his tax returns.
Graham, who dropped out of the race for the White House in December and later backed Jeb Bush’s candidacy, only to see the former Florida governor suspend his campaign after failing to gain traction with primary voters, concluded his speech on a self-deprecating note.
‘I ran for president, and I had to get out,’ Graham said. ‘I endorsed Jeb Bush, and he had to get out. I am the Dr. Kevorkian of the Republican primary.’
He then put on a baseball cap emblazoned with Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, ‘Make American Great Again,’ and jokingly endorsed the bombastic billionaire, whom he dubbed a ‘nutjob’ and a ‘loser’ when addressing reporters earlier that day.
‘I endorse Donald Trump and hope the Graham magic still exists!’