Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had been an ally of John McCain and one of the Arizona Republican’s closest friends, revealed the late lawmaker’s last words to him in an emotional interview on NBC’s “Today.”
“The last thing he said to me was, ‘I love you, I have not been cheated,’” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said, as a tear rolled down his cheek.
McCain died Saturday night after a yearlong battle with brain cancer. He had spent much of his last three years clashing with President Donald Trump — a feud that continued even after his death.
But Graham, who unlike McCain has embraced Trump's presidency, said that his friend never had much of a problem with his decision to support Trump.
“John has shown it's not about you. Country first,” Graham said. “Country first hurts, but it’s the right way to go.”
And when it came to Trump’s response to McCain’s death — he initially offered only a brief tweet, and had the White House flag prematurely raised to full-staff before lowering it back to half-staff after veterans groups and lawmakers grew furious — Graham praised Trump for “finally” getting “to where he needs to be.”
“How the president feels about Senator McCain, it’s his right to feel any way he likes,” Graham said.
“Clearly they had a contentious relationship. He’s not the only one to have had a tense relationship with John McCain,” he added.
In addition, Graham — who last week suggested that Trump deserved a faithful attorney general and might fire Jeff Sessions after the November midterm elections — said that the U.S. needs an attorney general “who can work with the president.”
It was a major shift for Graham, who just a year ago said the president would have “holy hell” to pay if he fired Sessions.
Graham added that the rift between the two men was “much deeper” than Trump being angry with Sessions for having recused himself from any federal probe into Russian election meddling.
“It’s a pretty deep breach,” he said. “This relationship is beyond repair.”
When asked later by NBC News what he meant by "deep breach," Graham declined to elaborate.
Graham added that should Sessions be replaced, the next attorney general will have to "allow Mueller to do his job."