- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2015

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is prepared to vote for Donald Trump if he wins the GOP presidential nomination, but warns that Hillary Rodham Clinton would easily outmatch the New York billionaire in a general election fight.

Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Mr. Graham said Friday that Mr. Trump’s favorability rating is upside down and said that would cripple his chances against Mrs. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

“I would vote for the nominee. If it was Donald, I would hold my nose and vote,” he said. “But Hillary Clinton would beat him like a drum.”

Mr. Trump was the only Republican to refuse in Thursday’s debate to pledge his support for the party’s eventual nominee, leaving open the door to a potential third-party run.

Mr. Graham missed the chance to participate in the prime-time debate because Fox News capped it to the top ten candidates based on national polls. Mr. Graham is running near the back of the back, while Mr. Trump is leading.

Mr. Graham also said that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigration is hurting the party’s chances to wooing Hispanic voters.

“We’re demonizing a group of people who have relatives who are legal. The DREAM Act kids come here as babies illegal,” Mr. Graham said, alluding to young illegal immigrants that are brought here as children. “They’ve had a brother, sister born here.

“So when you slander their brother and sister, what do you think the legal part of the family thinks?” he said. “I think we’re missing a great opportunity to talk about a party that can grow, fix immigration in a rational way. And I’m disappointed as to where we’re going on immigration.

“We’re going backward, not forward, as a party,” he said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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