- Sen. Graham told former President Trump that the House was “just a constant shit show.”
- Graham remarked on the various factions within the GOP that can cause trouble for leadership.
- Republicans want to regain control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
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Lindsey Graham has been in the Senate for over 18 years, gaining seniority and a national profile along the way, but he truly cut his teeth as a federal lawmaker when he served in the House from 1995 to 2003.
While the House offers powerful advantages to the majority party – even when the party has nominal control – the Senate, designed to be a more deliberative body, requires much more consensus to pass sweeping bills.
In the House, it is not uncommon for the Republican Study Committee, consisting of the most conservative members, or the the Progressive Caucus, which boasts some of the most liberal members, to demand major concessions from leaders in order to pass critical legislation.
The South Carolina Republican understands the rough-and-tumble nature of the House all too well, having served as an impeachment manager during President Bill Clinton’s Senate trial in 1999. During a June conversation with former President Donald Trump, he emphasized the importance of the GOP taking back control of Congress in 2022, according to a new book by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Insider obtained an early copy of “Peril,” where at one point Graham tells the former president that if he can campaign effectively for Republican candidates and put the party over the top in Congressional races, then it would bode well for him as he looks at the 2024 presidential election.
“If we come back in 2022 and recapture the House and take back the Senate, you’ll get your fair share of credit,” the senator said, according to the book, adding: “If we don’t win in 2022, we’re screwed.”
In the House, Democrats hold a 220-212 edge over Republicans – 218 seats are needed to control the 435-seat chamber – and the GOP is within striking distance of a potential majority.
However, Graham knows how difficult it can be to keep individual groups within a caucus unified, especially for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who has limited tools to stop Democrats from passing legislation in the House.
Graham articulated just as much to Trump.
“You’ve got the Republican Study Groups. You’ve got the moderates. The House is just a constant shit show,” he said.
Graham went on to point out a raft of issues, from migration at the US-Mexico border to inflation, that he felt could be used to attack President Joe Biden in the midterm elections in advance of 2024.
“If you, as the party leader, could lead us to a 2022 victory and you came back to take the White House, it would be the biggest comeback in American history,” the senator professed, according to the book.