Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., unloaded on Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Sunday, asserting that if Trump is the nominee, "the Republican Party will get killed, we’ll get creamed, we’ll lose, we’ll deserve it."
In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Graham reiterated that he would support Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, if he’s the only viable alternative to Trump. He explained, “I would support Cruz over Trump. I’d prefer Rubio over Kasich; Rubio and Kasich over Cruz. But if Ted’s the alternative to Trump, he’s at least a Republican conservative.”
Looking ahead on the primary calendar, Graham said, "I hope Rubio wins Florida, I hope Kasich wins Ohio, but if I have to support Ted Cruz over Donald Trump, I would."
“I’d rather risk losing without Donald Trump than try to win with him, because it will do more damage over time," the former Republican presidential candidate stressed.
According to Graham, Trump has run “a campaign on xenophobia, race-baiting, religious bigotry – that cannot be Republican conservatism.”
If Graham's support of Cruz seems cautious, it's because it is. Graham and Cruz have had their share of differences as colleagues in the Senate. But the South Carolina senator affirmed that "at the end of the day, I know what I’m getting with Ted Cruz ... If I can work with Ted Cruz I think that shows that there is hope."
He continued, "Ted is a conservative. He’s more ideological than I am, but he’s a Republican conservative and Donald Trump is not."
Asked if it was a mistake for Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich to commit to supporting whoever becomes the Republican nominee, Graham defended the candidates. "They’re in a spot where they gotta be loyal to the party,” he said. But pressed on whether he would commit to supporting whoever is the nominee, Graham candidly replied, “Ask me after the convention. I’m not going to say anything about our nominee – supporting that person – until after the convention."
Finally, on the subject of the Supreme Court vacancy, Graham said "I think we should let the next President decide." Despite voting to confirm both of Pres. Obama’s previous nominees, Graham colorfully explained, "The person I admire the most is me, and if you nominated me, I wouldn’t vote for me this year."