Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Tuesday he does not “like” former President Donald Trump attacking Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis ahead of a potential 2024 election face-off.
Despite this view, Graham, who endorsed Trump’s third campaign for the White House, acknowledged during an appearance on Fox News that Trump is “not into ‘thou shalt nots.’”
The senator specifically mentioned President Ronald Reagan’s so-called eleventh commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”
“That’s not his thing,” Graham said.
Trump announced his third bid for the presidency in November and has been ratcheting up rhetoric critical of DeSantis, who is not a declared candidate for the White House but often tops 2024 polls along with Trump. This includes the use of mocking nicknames such as “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
On Monday, DeSantis appeared to take a rare swipe back at Trump while commenting on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels that may lead to an indictment against the former president.
“I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair, I can’t speak to that,” DeSantis said. He also criticized Bragg, accusing the prosecutor of “ignoring” crimes in his jurisdiction.
Afterward, Trump again took aim at the Florida governor, posting to his Truth Social platform how “Ron DeSanctimonious will probably find out about FALSE ACCUSATIONS & FAKE STORIES sometime in the future.”
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Graham, too, is no stranger to Trump’s broadsides. They were once rivals in the 2016 primary contest. But the senator has established himself over the years as an ally of Trump in Congress who also, from time to time, disagrees with the former president.
During his appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Graham said he believes “if you start this thing, you’d better be willing to take it.” He also explained what he would do if he were Trump.
“The bottom line is: I think if I were Trump, which I am not, I would be running on four years of being a pretty effective president,” Graham said. “The best is yet to come.”
In regard to the Florida governor, Graham indicated he would focus on the positive if he were Trump, touting, “‘DeSantis, I picked him out of a crowd. I knew he was talented early on. I’m the guy that saw the talent. He’s been a great governor, but I’m better able to be president.’”
Still, Graham conceded, “that ain’t gonna happen.”