No transcript, but this gives you a flavor of the remarks:
“A good Republican would defend Ted Cruz after tonight,” Graham remarked, before adding, “That ain’t happening.”
“I was asked the hardest question in my political life: Do you agree with Donald Trump that Ted Cruz is the biggest liar in politics?” he said. “Too close to call.”
“If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you,” Graham said, referencing the Tea Party senator’s unpopular reputation with his colleagues.
This was in the context of a roast, but everyone knew that Graham was expressing the view of a lot of senators about Ted Cruz.
But last evening on Charlie Rose, Graham changed his tune.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday night that Republicans may have to hold their noses and unify behind Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for president if they want to save their party from Donald Trump.
“Ted Cruz is not my favorite by any means,” Graham said in a CBS interview. “But we may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop Donald Trump.”
Graham, who not too long ago was running against Cruz and Trump for the GOP presidential nomination, said it’s still a long shot that Cruz could beat Trump. And the Texas senator isn’t exactly the most likable Republican in town.
“Short of a major scandal, probably not,” said Graham of Cruz’ chances. “And if Marco [Rubio] doesn’t win Florida, I don’t know how he goes forward.”
This is makes me think a bit better of Graham. First, I’d always put Graham squarely in the “Establishment” lane of the GOP. This is showing that a flicker of conservatism still remains in him, despite his long association with John McCain, because the GOP Establishment is sending clear signals that it is preparing to work with Trump. The fact that he is willing to set aside his personal antipathy for Cruz and support his candidacy is a huge plus in my book.
At the end of the roast, from which the video clip was taken, Graham had this to say:
At the end of the speech, Pelosi handed Graham Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” baseball hat. Graham placed the hat on his head, reminded the crowd of his failed campaign and his endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s failed campaign, and said, “I endorse Donald Trump and hope that Graham magic still exists.”
Let’s just hope the magic fails again this time.