Republican leaders must have 'a working relationship with Donald Trump' to succeed, Lindsey Graham says

Republican leaders must have 'a working relationship with Donald Trump' to succeed, Lindsey Graham says
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.Greg Nash/Pool via AP
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said Republican leaders must "have a relationship with Donald Trump" in order to be effective.
  • On Fox News Sunday, Graham insisted that the former president will play a role in future elections.

Former President Donald Trump will continue to play a role in politics, so party leaders need to work with him, Sen. Lindsey Graham warned on Sunday.

"If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate and you don't have a relationship with Donald Trump, you cannot be effective. So I hope we'll get on the same page here," Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

Graham made the comments as he discussed the cost of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better social spending plan, which Republican opponents of Biden have lambasted as socialist spending.

Last week, Trump and his allies made jabs at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over his recent debt ceiling deal with Democrats, which some Republicans saw as a betrayal. Fourteen Republican senators voted Thursday in favor of a maneuver that will allow Democrats to raise the debt limit without any Republican support, Insider's Kelsey Vlamis reported.

On Friday, Trump said that McConnell had given up "the most powerful negotiating tool we have" to derail Biden's social spending initiatives.


"The Build Back Worse plan is going to get done now," Trump said on the conservative talk radio show The Mark Davis Show. "It's like taking money and throwing it out the window, and Mitch McConnell could have killed it."

"If you help them, you're legitimizing this spending," Graham said on Sunday, referring to Democrats. "We let a lot of people down. Senator McConnell has been a great leader on many things, but we're going into an election cycle where the wind is to our back. We can't do this again."

"But when you look forward to this party, Donald Trump is the most consequential Republican in the entire Republican Party, maybe in the history of the party since Ronald Reagan," Graham continued. "And if you're going to lead this party in the House and the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with Donald Trump or it will not work."