On MSNBC’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Chuck Todd asked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) about his improved relationship with President Trump. Todd read a recent friendly comment Trump made about Graham after a meeting of Republican senators to discuss immigration and asked, “What’s changed?”
Trump and Graham were mortal enemies during the 2016 campaign and through Trump’s first year as president, but it seems they’ve patched up their differences and are in the midst of a lovely “bromance” as they work on immigration reform together.
Trump complimented Graham after the immigration meeting saying, “Lindsey used to be a great enemy of mine, now he’s a great friend of mine.” He added, “I really like Lindsey. Can you believe that? I never thought I’d say that but I do like him a lot.”
The president hasn’t been shy in the past about voicing his disgust with the S. Carolina senator. He famously gave out Graham’s private cell phone number at a public event, encouraging people to call it. (Graham responded with good humor, making a video about how to destroy your cell phone.)
“He doesn’t seem like a very bright guy, okay?” Trump said of Graham in 2015. “He actually probably seems to me not as bright honestly as Rick Perry. I think Rick Perry is probably smarter than Lindsey Graham, but what do I know?”
Graham in the past has called Trump a “jackass,” and a “kook” and said that Trump was “crazy” and “unfit for office.”
“I said he was a xenophobic, race-baiting religious bigot. I ran out of adjectives,” he admitted to Major Garrett last week on “Face the Nation.” “Well, the American people spoke. They rejected my analysis and he is now my president.”
He told Todd this week that he wants to work with the president and help him where he can.
You may recall that Sen. Graham led the “Gang of Eight,” the group of senators responsible for the disastrous 2013 immigration reform bill. Graham worked with Sens. Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, John McCain, Marco Rubio, and others to push a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. The bill passed the Senate but later died in the House (along with Rubio’s presidential aspirations… and Graham’s too for that matter). Graham earned the nickname Lindsey “Gramnesty” as a result of his misguided efforts on the bill.
But all that is ancient history.
Now Graham is working with Trump on a new immigration reform bill.
“He’s going to make a decision on immigration I’ve been working on for a decade,” Graham told Todd.
Last month Graham told CNN that the two had had a long talk about the subject at a meeting about immigration. “He’s encouraging: ‘Keep talking,'” said Graham, who is again working with Durbin on a bill to try and save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “I think he wants a deal,” Graham said, “and we’ll see what happens.”
Ed. Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the interview was conducted by Jake Tapper.