Prominent Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has given up on the Trump train and has reportedly set his sights on a future that includes a new leader of the Republican Party.
That leader, he believes, is former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
The senator has been making the rounds with Haley and introducing her to top donors, though it does not appear to be working as well as he would like, The War Room reported.
“Lindsey Graham is making this pitch for Nikki Haley and he’s calling around to people to ask if they will meet with her,” Richard Baris, the director of Big Data Poll, said.
“These donors are angry and they do not want to sit down with Nikki Haley,” he said. “I guess she forgot to mention this to Politico.”
The news comes just as Haley gave an interview in which she made a break with former President Donald Trump.
“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said to Politico. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
Reporter Tim Alberta asked her if she spoke to the president about his contention that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and she said “No … When he was talking about that, I didn’t address it.”
“I understand the president. I understand that genuinely, to his core, he believes he was wronged,” she said. “This is not him making it up.”
“You have the president of the United States telling everyone that he was cheated, that the voting systems are corrupt, that we’re living in a banana republic where the deep state has rigged this election against him,” Alberta said. “Isn’t that dangerous?”
“He believes it,” she responded.
“There’s nothing that you’re ever going to do that’s going to make him feel like he legitimately lost the election,” the former governor said. “He’s got a big bully pulpit. He should be responsible with it.”
She said that the former president’s attorneys had done a “disservice to him.”
That would be like you saying that grass is blue and you genuinely believing it. Is it irresponsible that you’re colorblind and you truly believe that?” she said.
“But he swore an oath,” Alberta responded. “This is the president.”
“He believes he’s following that oath,” Haley said. “This would be different if he was being deceptive.”
“He deserves the truth. Is he hearing the truth?” she said at her December meeting with Alberta. “I don’t think certain people around him are telling him the truth.”
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But after the riot in D.C. Haley gave more blame to the former president than she had before.
“President Trump has not always chosen the right words. He was wrong with his words in Charlottesville, and I told him so at the time,” Haley said to a Republican National Committee crowd. “He was badly wrong with his words yesterday.”
“And it wasn’t just his words. His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history,” the former ambassador said.
And when she spoke to Alberta again, the next day, she continued her break from former President Trump.
“But when Charlottesville happened, I was very triggered,” she said. “I know that bad things can happen. And I called [Trump] and I said, ‘You need to realize your words matter and what you say, and you think you’re saying, and what someone else may hear can be very different things. You have to understand that people can take that and hurt people with it.’
“He said, ‘Nikki, Nikki. This isn’t Charleston, this isn’t Charleston,’” she said. “I said, ‘I’m not saying this is Charleston. I’m saying that I know that certain people hear your words and will react to that and you have to be careful with that.’”
“Fast forward, I’m watching the television the morning of the 6th and I see Don Junior get up there,” Haley said. “And then I hear the president get up there and go off on Pence. I literally was so triggered, I had to turn it off. I mean, Jon [Lerner] texted me something and I said, ‘I can’t. I can’t watch it. I can’t watch it,’ because I felt the same thing. Somebody is going to hear that, and bad things will happen,” she said.
“When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,” she said. “Mike has been nothing but loyal to that man. He’s been nothing but a good friend of that man. … I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.”