Sen. Lindsey Graham deemed the future of the GOP dependent on former President Donald Trump during an interview conducted by Fox News host Sean Hannity that aired Thursday.
In doing so, Mr. Graham also made clear he disagrees with Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the chair of the House Republican Conference, and her insistence that their party leave the former president behind it.
“I would just say to my Republican colleagues, can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on the “Hannity” program.
“I’ve always liked Liz Cheney but she’s made a determination that the Republican Party can’t grow with President Trump. I’ve determined we can’t grow without him,” Mr. Graham added.
Ms. Cheney, the third-ranked Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, has faced efforts to oust her from that role in recent days over her repeated public criticisms of Mr. Trump, particularly of his unfounded assertions that voter fraud was responsible for his failed reelection bid.
“Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law,” she wrote in an op-ed this week.
“We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process,” Ms. Cheney said to fellow Republicans in the editorial published Wednesday.
Previously, Ms. Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump for inciting an insurrection after supporters of the then-president stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
A month later, the Wyoming Republican Party overwhelmingly voted to censure Ms. Cheney as a consequence of her having voted to impeach Mr. Trump and asked for her to “immediately resign.” She did not.
Mr. Graham, for his part, recognized Democrat Joseph R. Biden as the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election during a speech he gave from the Senate floor hours after the Capitol building was stormed.
At the time, Mr. Graham seemed to have suggested the storming of the Capitol building was the final straw with respect to him standing by Mr. Trump and his allegations of purported election fraud.
“Trump and I, we’ve had a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it,” Mr. Graham said later on Jan. 6. “But today … all I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.”