Graham predicts Trump would win 2024 GOP presidential nod: No one 'can challenge him effectively'

Ohio GOP senatorial nominee J.D. Vance "went from like fourth or fifth to first, and so the power of the Trump endorsement is real," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Published: May 4, 2022 2:27pm

Updated: May 4, 2022 11:51pm

Reacting to the GOP primary election results on Tuesday evening, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) predicted that former President Donald Trump would win the GOP nomination in 2024 if he runs for president again.

Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance will face Rep. Tim Ryan, who won the Democratic Ohio Senate primary on Tuesday. Trump had endorsed Vance in a crowded field of candidates running in the GOP primary.

"He's the 800-pound gorilla in the room, right?" Graham said during an interview for the "Just the News, Not Noise" television program. "I mean, he's the most consequential Republican. He has a lot of support in the Republican Party. If he runs for president 2024, I think he'll win the Republican primary. I don't think anybody can challenge him effectively. His record as president was very consequential, if you're a conservative. So his endorsement was outcome determinative for J.D. He was in a crowded field of talented people."

The venture capitalist and best-selling author of "Hillbilly Elegy" was running against former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, former state GOP Chair Jane Timken, investment banker Mike Gibbons, and state Sen. Matt Dolan. 

"He went from like fourth or fifth to first, and so the power of the Trump endorsement is real," Graham said. "We'll see how it plays out in these other states. And I'm urging everybody to get behind J.D. He was an enlisted Marine, so that speaks volumes to me about him and his character. And now I want to help him win, but if a Trump-supported candidate falls short in some of these other states, I would urge President Trump to do what everybody else is doing: Get behind the winner."

Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, wants to see the Republican Party move on from Trump.

"I don't think he should run," he said. "It'd be better for the party if we moved on and looked toward the future."

A scenario where pro-Trump 2024 hopefuls are all competing to attract the same conservatives voters in primaries could leave a lane open for a Hogan-type moderate Republican. Hogan said most of the potential 2024 would be "fishing in the same pond" of voters. 

"We don't need Donald Trump and we don't need somebody that's a cheap impersonation of Donald Trump," said Hogan.

"His ego wouldn't take losing another election," Hogan also said. "And I think he's not getting any younger."

Graham, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was also asked if some Democrats are overplaying their hands with average Americans by opposing voter ID and signature verification for absentee ballots as well as supporting non-citizens voting in certain areas like New York City.

"There's been an assault on institutions for the last couple of years to get outcomes," he replied. "When the election doesn't go your way for Democrats, they want to federalize elections. So we have legislation in the Senate that would institute same-day voting, would basically legalize ballot harvesting, would give federal authority to run elections, take it from the states, which I think is a violation of the Constitution.

"They want to expand the number of judges on the Supreme Court because it's conservative. It's conservative because we won elections, and we picked judges that were conservative. [Court packing] would destroy the court. They want to abolish the Electoral College because it stands in the way of getting the right answer, which is for Democrats to win all the time."

Graham argued that the Supreme Court is "another example of people destroying institutions to get an outcome."

Democrats "want to make sure Roe v. Wade stays the law of the land, and they'll do anything necessary to make that happen," Graham said, referring to the leak of the Roe v. Wade draft opinion. 

Graham predicted that the Democrats are going to again attempt to alter the filibuster rules of the Senate as a result of the controversy over the leaked opinion.

"The Democrats are going to try to change the rules of the Senate in light of the Roe v Wade draft," he said. "I hope Sinema and Manchin will hold. They will take another shot at changing the rules of the Senate to make it so ... they can pass their agenda with 50 votes alone.

"That's a threat to the future of the United States Senate that undercuts the checks and balances we have. So I think the Republican base wants us to fight the radical agenda and to talk about things that will help improve the life of average everyday Americans. That's why we need a contract with America, American first agenda."

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