Although he started out as one of the former president’s most vocal critics, the Republican senator from South Carolina has become one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress.
How did he do it? By understanding Trump’s psyche – by knowing what drives the billionaire businessman.
That’s why it’s worth paying attention when Graham speaks publicly about what he told Trump privately — as he did in a CNBC interview on Monday.
What Graham is selling Trump on then is such a storyline — the idea of the former president as a returning kid. The guy who voters regretted getting rid of four years ago and who now has a chance to right that wrong.
Again, here’s Graham channeling Trump during the CNBC interview: “Remember me? I may not be your cup of tea, but when I was president, our border was secure, we had the lowest illegal crossings in 40 years. I did it.”
This is an argument that will be convincing to Trump. He is – and always has been – deeply invested in the idea of second chances. In 2006, when Tara Conner, who had won the Miss USA crown, was allegedly spotted drinking in bars as a minor, Trump refused to strip her of the crown. (Trump owned the Miss USA event.)
There is, of course, a pretty big problem with the whole Graham comeback narrative: Trump still refuses to admit he lost the 2020 election.
“Now that the FBI and DOJ have been caught up in a massive and life-altering election scam, will they change the results of the 2020 presidential election?” Trump asked Monday via his Truth Social website. “They should!!!”
It is, of course, hard to make a comeback when you can’t admit you lost in the first place.
But, at least directionally, Graham is right about what form a Trump 2024 deal would likely take. among the people who voted for Joe Biden to put Trump back in power.