Graham says Trump can make Republican Party stronger – or 'destroy' it

The South Carolina Republican says the party should continue with Trump administration policies.
Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Capitol Hill. Jan. 6, 2021
( via Getty Images)

Sen. Lindsay Graham says former President Trump can either make or break the Republican Party.

"He could make the Republican Party something that nobody else I know could make it," Graham said in an Axios on HBO interviewed aired Sunday. "He can make it bigger. He can make it stronger. He can make it more diverse. And he also could destroy it."

Graham said Republicans need to continue with Trump administration policies and that it is easier to move forward with Trump than without him.

The South Carolina Republican also argued that one reason Trump and other Republicans lost once-reliable Arizona in the 2020 elections is that the former president attacked GOP Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam War hero who died in 2018. 

"The main reason he [Trump] probably lost in Arizona was because of beating on the dead guy called John McCain," Graham said.

He also said Trump is a mix of several people including the late-North Carolina GOP Sen. Jesse Helms, late-President Ronald Reagan and famous 19th-century circus and entertainment entrepreneur P.T. Barnum.

Graham is largely a Trump supporter but has had a back-and-forth relationship with the former president. Graham said after Trump refused to accept the 2020 election results and spoke at a rally minutes before the Jan. 6 Capitol Building siege, "Count me out. Enough is enough."