Despite calling then-candidate Donald Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic bigot" and saying the Republican Party would get "destroyed" and "deserve it" if it nominated Trump for the 2016 presidential election, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina became one of his most loyal sycophants.
Graham repeatedly defended Trump and facilitated Trump's lies about the legitimacy of the 2020 election by calling Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to pressure him into manipulating Biden's win in the Peach State.
Though Graham gave a soft denouncement of Trump in the immediate aftermath of a pro-Trump extremist mob's attack on the United States Capitol, the Senator is once again singing Trump's praises, this time in regards to how he believes Trump would've approached Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent invasion of Ukraine.
Graham said in an interview with the conservative Fox News network:
"They didn't do this on Trump's watch, Russia, because Trump would've kicked their ass. What's happening is that Putin looks at Biden, he sized him up, he thinks he can get away with it, and he's going to keep going and going and going and nobody in the West is gonna stop him."
But as was the case in the 2016 campaign, Graham's comments today are in diametric opposition to his comments in the past.
Back in 2017, shortly after Trump's inauguration, Graham vowed that it would be the "year of kicking Russia in the ass in Congress," but by October he was excoriating the Trump administration for hindering that agenda, saying:
“I think the Trump administration is slow when it comes to Russia. They have a blind spot on Russia I still can’t figure out."
Of course, Trump's deference to Putin and Russia wasn't just a defining feature of his presidency, but of his entire career. He openly sided with Putin over the findings of U.S. intelligence officials over whether Russia sought to interfere with the 2016 election. There's credible evidence that his real estate business relied on the money of Russian oligarchs. Just last week, Trump referred to Putin's strategy for invading Ukraine as "smart" and even "genius"—comments Graham himself denounced.
That's why Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison—who was Graham's opponent in the 2020 election—wasn't having any of his claim that Trump would've "kicked their ass."
Harrison noted that it's "physically impossible to kick someone’s ass when you are constantly kissing it."
Social media users agreed.
But Harrison wasn't the only one pushing back on Graham's comments.
Graham is currently facing backlash after openly calling for a "Brutus in Russia" to assassinate Putin—a move some feel could disrupt efforts to diffuse tensions between Russia and the West.