Donald Trump didn’t pull any punches while attacking Lindsey Graham in a lengthy statement Friday, after the South Carolina senator and former 2016 GOP presidential hopeful announced he wouldn’t be supporting his party’s presumptive nominee.
“I fully understand why Lindsey Graham cannot support me,” Trump wrote. “If I got beaten as badly as I beat him, and all the other candidates he endorsed, I would not be able to give my support either.”
Graham tweeted Friday that it’s “hard to believe” the choice for president will be between Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Trump. He said that, though he would not support Clinton, he could not “in good conscience support” the real-estate magnate “because I do not believe he is a reliable conservative.”
He added he doesn’t trust Trump’s judgment or temperament.
“Every time I see Lindsey Graham spew hate during interviews I ask why the media never questions how I single handily destroyed his hapless run for President,” Trump’s statement read. “As a candidate who did not receive 1% in his own state – compared to my victory at nearly 40% with many others in the race – he has zero credibility.”
Trump called Graham a “poor representative” and an “embarrassment” to South Carolina.
“Judging by the incompetent way he ran his campaign, it is easy to see why his military strategies have failed so badly — we can’t even beat ISIS!” Trump continued. “While I will unify the party, Lindsey Graham has shown himself to be beyond rehabilitation. And like the voters who rejected him, so will I!”
Trump saw another round of defections from Republican leaders Friday, the day after House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was “not ready” to support him. Other big-name Republicans, such as former 2016 contender and ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush, joined Graham in saying they would not be voting for Trump.
Graham said Trump lost him when he ridiculed Sen. John McCain for being captured during the Vietnam War and for accusing President George W. Bush of lying about the Iraq War.
“I just can’t go there,” he said during a CNN interview Friday. “I respect people who can. And to Donald Trump, congratulations, you did a hell of a thing. You beat me and everybody else. I just really believe that the Republican Party has been conned here.”
The South Carolina senator added that Trump’s propping up of fringe theories — such as his prominent role in questioning President Barack Obama’s birthplace in 2011 — played a part in why he won’t support the presumptive nominee.
“I’ve got a hard time supporting somebody for president who spent thousands of dollars of their own money trying to find out if President Obama was born in Kenya versus Hawaii,” he said. “I think that’s crazy.”
“I’m just glad we’re having the convention in Cleveland, not Area 51,” he continued. “I think Donald Trump is going to places where very few people have gone, and I’m not going with him.”
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