Lindsey Graham floats Senate GOP leaving Washington, DC to deny a quorum for Democratic infrastructure bill

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

  • Lindsey Graham floated the idea of Senate Republicans skipping town to deny Democrats a quorum.
  • Graham is incensed over the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill that Democrats want to pass via reconciliation.
  • The senator said he was taking a page from the playbook of Texas House Democrats, who left the state to block a GOP voting bill.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday suggested that Senate Republicans could grind the upper chamber to halt to by denying Democrats a quorum to pass a possible $3.5 trillion infrastructure package through the budget reconciliation process.

During an interview with host Maria Bartiromo on the Fox News program “Sunday Morning Futures,” the South Carolina Republican floated the idea of skipping town to block a Democratic bill, making a reference to Texas House Democrats, who left the state to deny Republicans a quorum on a restrictive voting bill that they fervently oppose.

A bipartisan group of senators last month struck a tentative deal with the White House for a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package that focuses on roads and bridges.

However, Democrats are also seeking to pass a separate infrastructure package, which would feature other infrastructure priorities focused on childcare, clean energy, and education.

Read more: Exclusive documents show which Pence aides are still getting government paychecks

Last Wednesday, Senate Democrats reached an agreement on a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which, if passed and signed into law, would be a heralding achievement for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the chairman of the Budget Committee.

“This is the most significant piece of legislation passed since the Great Depression, and I’m delighted to be part of having helped to put it together,” he said at the time.

Passing a bill through the reconciliation process only requires a simple majority, and with Democrats holding 50 Senate seats, Vice President Kamala Harris would be the pivotal tiebreaking vote.

Graham scoffed at the Democratic party-line bill and vowed to block its passage.

“As for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, designed to pass without a single Republican vote, [Sen.] Joe Manchin [of West Virginia] says that has to be paid for,” he said. “The only way you can do that is through a massive tax increase. The reconciliation package is not infrastructure. It’s big government. All kinds of new social programs unrelated to infrastructure. We’ll see if they can get Democratic support.”

He added: “If for some reason, they pass the budget resolution to bring that [$3.5 trillion] bill to the floor of the United States Senate … You gotta have a quorum to pass a bill in the Senate. I would leave before I’d let that happen. So, to my Republican colleagues, we may learn something from our Democratic friends in Texas when it comes to avoiding a $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend package. Leave town.”

Read more: Exclusive documents show which Pence aides are still getting government paychecks

Bartiromo, who has made waves for her interviews with former President Donald Trump, widened her eyes when Graham mentioned the possibility of leaving.

The senator then chided Harris, who met with the Texas legislators last week and praised their “extraordinary courage and commitment” for leaving the state to call attention to voting rights.

“Hey Vice President Harris, if you think these people are heroes, well I expect you to come and pat us on the back,” he said. “Hell yeah, I would leave. I will use everything lawfully in my toolbox to prevent rampant inflation. If it takes me not showing up to stop that, I will do it because if we pass that bill, you’re going to have inflation through the roof.”

The Constitution mandates a a quorum of 51 senators to be present for the Senate to conduct official business. Since the chamber is split 50-50, all Republican senators would have to sign on to Graham’s proposal for the plan to work.

So far, no other Republicans have taken such a stance.

Read the original article on Business Insider

National Review editor blasts GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham as ‘an idiot’ over infrastructure claims in scathing op-ed

lindsey graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol on March 5, 2021.

  • Editor Philip Klein blasted Sen. Graham for his stance on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
  • Graham criticized Democratic attempts to link the negotiated legislation with a reconciliation bill.
  • In an op-ed, Klein argues that Republicans are being “duped” by President Biden.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

The editor of the conservative National Review Online on Friday called Sen. Lindsey Graham “an idiot” for thinking that President Joe Biden would approve bipartisan infrastructure legislation in the absence of a Democratic-led reconciliation bill.

In an op-ed column, Philip Klein gave a harsh assessment of the South Carolina Republican’s political acumen.

“Sen. Lindsey Graham is an idiot,” he wrote. “Don’t take it from me. Take it from Graham himself.”

Late last month, following weeks of bipartisan efforts to craft an infrastructure deal, Biden lauded the roughly $1 trillion legislative compromise. However, when the president linked signing the legislation to a separate reconciliation bill, Republicans in the group balked.

Biden quickly walked back his comments, which many perceived to be a veto threat, reassuring Republicans that he was committed to the bipartisan bill.

“The bottom line is this: I gave my word to support the Infrastructure Plan, and that’s what I intend to do,” Biden said in a statement last month. “I intend to pursue the passage of that plan, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to … with vigor. It would be good for the economy, good for our country, good for our people. I fully stand behind it without reservation or hesitation.”

Graham, enraged over Biden’s earlier statement, accused the president of making the GOP “look like a f—ing idiot” for attempting to tie the two bills together.

However, Klein noted that “yet a week later, Graham is back on board with the bipartisan deal citing a statement Biden made to reassure Republicans.”

Read more: Meet 7 BidenWorld longtime consiglieres and a couple of relative newcomers who have access to exclusive White House meetings

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said that the Democratic-controlled chamber wouldn’t take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill until she saw a Senate bill passed through reconciliation.

“Our caucus is very, very pleased with the bipartisan agreement that the President was able to achieve working with Democrats and Republicans in the Senate,” Pelosi said at the time. “What I said last week and I reiterate now is that in the House of Representatives that particular version as it is is something that we would take up once we see what the budget parameters are of the budget bill that the Senate will pass.”

Democrats want to pursue a larger bill through the Senate, using the reconciliation budget process that could survive in the 50-50 Senate with unanimous party support and a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.

The second bill would focus on longstanding Democratic priorities including childcare, healthcare, and climate change, among other issues.

Klein argued that Pelosi’s comments show that “both Congressional Democrats and the White House view the two bills as linked. The only ones who don’t seem to understand that are Graham and the rest of the Republicans participating in the charade.”

He concluded: “Any Republican who signs on to this pile of hot garbage should be laughed at for getting duped by Biden. As Graham himself put it, ‘You look like a f—ing idiot now.'”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden walks back remarks, says he didn’t mean to threaten to veto the bipartisan infrastructure bill

joe biden
President Joe Biden makes brief remarks while hosting Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in the Oval Office at the White House June 25, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • President Joe Biden said he hadn’t intended to threaten a veto on a bipartisan bill.
  • Biden previously said “I’m not signing it” without passing another Democratic antipoverty plan.
  • Republicans had called Biden’s remarks “extortion” and threatened to withdraw support.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden said Saturday that he hadn’t meant to threaten a veto on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

On Thursday, Biden triggered Republican backlash when he said the infrastructure bill would need to move in “tandem” with his American Families Plan, a bill brimming with Democratic priorities like childcare and healthcare.

“If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” Biden said Thursday, referring to the sole infrastructure bill. In response, a number of Republican senators called Biden’s remarks “extortion” and threatened to withdraw their support.

“It was never suggested to me during these negotiations that President Biden was holding hostage the bipartisan infrastructure proposal unless a liberal reconciliation package was also passed,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted Friday.

On Saturday, Biden acknowledged that his comments “understandably upset some Republicans, who do not see the two plans as linked” and confirmed he would support the bipartisan infrastructure bill independently of any others.

“My comments also created the impression that I was issuing a veto threat on the very plan I had just agreed to, which was certainly not my intent,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

“The bottom line is this: I gave my word to support the Infrastructure Plan, and that’s what I intend to do,” Biden added. “I intend to pursue the passage of that plan, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to on Thursday, with vigor. It would be good for the economy, good for our country, good for our people.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Senate Republicans denounce ‘extortion’ and threaten to tank Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal

Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

  • Republicans are fuming at Biden for tying passage of a bipartisan infrastructure plan to approval of a party-line bill.
  • One key Republican signaled he could pull out of the deal.
  • “It seems like the momentum in the Republican caucus is to abandon this deal,” a former GOP aide told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden said on Thursday “we have a deal” in reference to a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, but major chunks of the Republican Party were icy about its prospects on Friday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham was perhaps among the most aggressive lawmakers denouncing it. On Friday, Politico reported that the South Carolina Republican would not back the plan. “No deal by extortion!” he tweeted.

The stumbling block is that Biden tied the deal’s final passage to a separate party-line bill that’s poised to contain many Democratic social priorities on education, healthcare, and childcare.

“If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” Biden said at the White House on Thursday, referring to the bipartisan package.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy seized on exactly those remarks on Friday to explain his opposition. “It’s one big deal. It’s not separated,” the California Republican said. “I just don’t see any Republican supporting that structure.”

Key Senate Republicans also signaled their opposition. Sen. Jerry Moran, one of the 10 Republicans who signed onto the deal with Biden, showed signs of wavering on the framework given the president’s commitment to secure approval of a separate reconciliation bill, Bloomberg reported.

Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, another of the Republican negotiators, told reporters on Thursday he was “a little blindsided” by Biden’s pledge to only approve the bipartisan plan only if a party-line package reached his desk.

Other Republicans who forged the deal, like Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio or Susan Collins of Maine, have refrained from commenting publicly so far. But there are signs that the GOP could ultimately ditch the plan.

“I can’t imagine Senate Republicans agreeing to a deal that Democrats are going to rip up before the ink is dry,” Brian Riedl, a former Portman aide, told Insider.

“It seems like the momentum in the Republican caucus is to abandon this deal,” said Riedl, now a budget expert at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute. “The fact they feel lied to and misled by the president gives them a pretty clear justification for pulling out. This isn’t a matter of ‘we got cold feet and changed our minds,’ it’s that the president changed the deal after we got an agreement.”

The $1 trillion infrastructure deal was focused on physical infrastructure like roads, bridges, broadband, and water projects. But it omitted many Democratic priorities like tax hikes on corporations and in-home elder care.

Still, some Republicans had floated striking a bipartisan deal in a bid to kill a Democrat-only package. “I think a value that could come from this is the reduced pressure of justification that Democrats may feel,” Moran said earlier this month. “If we do nothing, those that want to change the rules or use reconciliation have a stronger case to make.”

Some other Republicans may be responding to a separate Lindsey Graham quote, summing up his feelings about how the negotiations with Biden turned out: “Most Republicans could not have known” that Biden would tie the two bills together, Graham told Politico. “There’s no way. You look like a f—ing idiot now.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Lindsey Graham calls the Democrats’ voting-rights bill ‘the biggest power grab’ in US history, rejects Manchin compromise proposal

GettyImages lindsey graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference in Washington on January 7, 2021.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday continued to reject the premise of the For the People Act.
  • Graham said that he would also oppose Sen. Joe Manchin’s compromise proposal.
  • “We had the largest turnout in the history the US, and states are in charge of voting in America,” he said.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Sunday blasted the Democrats’ sweeping voting-rights bill, saying that even a compromise hashed out by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia would not pass muster.

The “For the People Act,” also known as H.R.1 or S.1., would end partisan gerrymandering, expand early and absentee voting, and establish national standards for voter registration, among other measures.

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham called the legislation “a bad idea” and dismissed Manchin’s efforts to attract Republican support by narrowing some of the provisions in the bill.

“In my view, S.R. 1 is the biggest power grab in the history of the country,” he said. “It mandates ballot harvesting, no voter ID. It does away with the states being able to redistrict when you have population shifts. It’s just a bad idea, and it’s a problem that most Republicans are not going to sign – they’re trying to fix a problem most Republicans have a different view of.”

Manchin, who is opposed S.1. in its current form, last week laid out a proposed compromise bill.

While he backs automatic voter registration and making Election Day a holiday, his bill would allow for voter identification provisions that Democrats didn’t include in the legislation.

Prominent Democrats including national party Chairman Jaime Harrison of South Carolina, former Georgia state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas all signed off on Manchin’s proposal.

“Congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials,” Manchin wrote last week.

Read more: How Biden’s chances of receiving Communion are in jeopardy because of his abortion stance

Graham continued to give a thumbs down on Manchin’s proposal, despite his positive working relationship with the Democratic senator.

“Well, one, I like Joe Manchin a lot, but we had the largest turnout in the history of the United States, and states are in charge of voting in America, so I don’t like the idea of taking the power to redistrict away from the state legislators,” he said.

He added: “You’re having people move from blue states to red states. Under this proposal, you’d have some kind of commission redraw the new districts, and I don’t like that. I want states where people are moving to have control over how to allocate new congressional seats.”

While several Democratic-leaning states including Illinois and Pennsylvania are set to lose congressional districts due to population shifts, some Republican-dominated states are losing seats, as well. Ohio and West Virginia, which have trended “red” in recent election cycles, are each losing a congressional district.

Last week, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also panned the compromise proposal.

“I would make this observation about the revised version. … All Republicans, I think, will oppose that as well if that were to be what surfaced on the floor,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has scheduled a Tuesday vote that would start debate on the bill, despite the likelihood of a GOP-led filibuster.

The voting-rights bill would have to clear the 60-vote threshold to withstand a legislative filibuster and proceed to a vote where it could pass with a simple majority.

“Our goal remains crystal clear: Protect the right to vote, strengthen our democracy, and put a stop to the tide of voter suppression flooding across our country,” the New York Democrat said last week.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘I miss Trump’: Lindsey Graham slams Biden foreign policy, alleges that the ‘bad guys were afraid’ of the former president

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham dismissed President Joe Biden’s leadership on the international stage.
  • “Let’s just be honest. The bad guys were afraid of Trump,” he said. “Who’s afraid of Biden?”
  • Over the past five years, Graham has evolved from a Trump critic to a staunch ally.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Thursday said that he missed former President Donald Trump and derided President Joe Biden’s pre-G7 summit meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “all fluff and happy talk.”

During an appearance on Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle,” Graham laced into Biden, alleging that the president is not pushing back forcefully against China and Russia.

“We’ve had two cyberattacks on our economy coming from Russian territory, by Russian organizations I think are given a pass by the Russian government,” he said. “They are probably working together, to be honest with you.”

He added: “Is Biden asking the Europeans to do anything to push back against Russian cyberterrorism? Is he even talking about what should we do to rein China in? No. Of course, this is just all fluff and happy talk. I miss Mr. Trump.”

Graham has increasingly raised questions about the coronavirus possibly emanating from a lab in Wuhan, a claim that China has refuted.

“There is no doubt in my mind the combination of prominent scientists coming out strongly against the lab leak theory, along with officials from the State Department shutting down additional inquiries, ended up being two of the most consequential events in the 2020 election cycle,” he wrote in a Fox News op-ed. “Had they given credence to this charge, the whole tenor, tone and focus of the 2020 election would have turned on a dime.”

Read more: The Justice Department is scrutinizing Arizona’s pro-Trump vote audit as threats of violence and political fallout loom

During his Fox interview, Graham then alleged that bad actors were fearful of Trump.

“Let’s just be honest. The bad guys were afraid of Trump,” he said. “Who’s afraid of Biden? The Europeans are talking about doing a trade deal with China as China dismantles Hong Kong’s democracy and is engaging in genocide against the Uyghurs. So, this just blows my mind.

He added: “They’re talking about going back into the Iranian nuclear deal even though Iran hasn’t changed its behavior at all. I can tell you one thing, the Israelis miss a stronger American president.”

The G7 summit began in Cornwall, a county in southwest England, on Friday – the event is Biden’s first overseas diplomatic summit since he assumed the presidency in January.

Biden will conduct talks with the leaders of the group, which in addition to the United Kingdom includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

During Biden’s pre-summit talk with Johnson, where the president gifted the prime minister a custom touring bicycle and helmet, the two men also discussed climate change and cyberattacks.

Graham, who was reelected to his fourth term last year, has evolved from a Trump critic to a staunch ally.

Last month, the senator said that was “impossible” for the GOP to move on without Trump as its leader and stated that party members who criticized the former president would “wind up getting erased.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump allies are reportedly worried that he is too obsessed with 2020 election: ‘He needs to weave in some new material”

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

When former President Donald Trump walked on stage at the North Carolina GOP Convention on Saturday, he was facing an adoring crowd of loyal Republicans who are eager to regain control of Congress in 2022.

After Lara Trump declined to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr next year, the former president quickly pivoted to backing conservative Rep. Ted Budd, a move that reflected his role in shaping the future of the party.

However, Trump pulled focus back to the 2020 presidential election, bringing up debunked allegations of voting fraud and continuing to question whether some blue states truly voted for Democratic President Joe Biden.

For a group of Trump aides and advisors, efforts to combat the former president’s fixation on the 2020 election have proven to be a difficult proposition, according to a CNN report.

Trump has faced growing calls to aid Republicans as they seek to regain control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections, according to CNN.

However, Trump has mostly brushed off the concerns, listening to individuals on television and in his larger circle who have told him to continue relitigating the 2020 election, per the CNN report.

The former president’s address on Saturday was his first major public appearance since his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida, where he reaffirmed his commitment to the Republican Party amid a Wall Street Journal report that he sought to create his own political party.

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

According to CNN, sources have said that Trump is “bored” by the issues that have been promoted by his advisors, which include threats to the country’s energy infrastructure and inflationary concerns.

One ex-Trump official told CNN that the former president is so “obsessed” with his failed reelection bid that he runs the risk of irrelevancy.

“It’s like a slow leak of a balloon that is now laying on the floor,” the ex-Trump official told the network.

Last week, Insider’s Jake Lahut reported on a tweet sent by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, where she stated that Trump was informing people that he expected to be reinstated as president in August.

Trump has also continued to push for audits of the presidential results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – all states that he narrowly lost in 2020 – similar to an ongoing GOP-initiated audit that is being conducted in Arizona.

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Allies want to see Trump promote an agenda rooted in the future

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a staunch ally of Trump, reportedly sought to orient the former president’s messaging to deliver a speech that was “two-thirds forward-looking, one-third grievance,” according to a source that spoke with CNN.

David Kochel, a GOP strategist for several presidential campaigns, told CNN that Trump will benefit from such a message, but also emphasized that the former president knows what his supporters want to hear.

“Any good consultant will tell him to look ahead, not back and that would be good advice,” he said. “But one of Trump’s superpowers is knowing exactly what his audience wants. They want the hits, and the #1 hit on the charts right now is ‘Stop the Steal.’ There’s no way he can give a speech without playing that tune.”

According to CNN, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Fox News host Sean Hannity have also sought to drive Trump’s message in a new direction, fearing that the former president is detaching himself from some voters.

“The conspiracy theories and election fraud rhetoric are helpful for keeping a certain audience engaged but they do virtually nothing to move other voters – especially those who care about pocketbook issues – into our column,” said an individual close to Trump.

The individual added: “At some point, the election integrity stuff just becomes dull. We’re six months out and I think we’re starting to see that happen. He can keep running through the greatest hits but he needs to weave in some new material too.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP Sen. Roy Blunt says the US should ‘treat Russia like it’s virtually a criminal enterprise’ amid cyberattacks

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri)

  • GOP Sen. Roy Blunt on Sunday said the US should treat Russia as a “criminal enterprise.”
  • “They harbor criminals, they don’t appreciate the rule of law or any kind of level of personal freedom,” he said.
  • His comments follow recent cyberattacks in the US.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Roy Blunt said Sunday that the United States should treat Russia as a “criminal enterprise” following recent cyberattacks in the US.

Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, made the comments during an appearance on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” when asked by moderator Chuck Todd about how the US should respond to Russian aggression.

“Remember, 2016, as late as early 2017, we had cyber defense capabilities, but we didn’t have the authority – the president had never given the authority – for cyber offense,” he said. “And so when we did push back, we pushed back pretty hard. In 2018, it stopped.

“I think to some extent, Chuck, you really have to treat Russia like it’s virtually a criminal enterprise,” Blunt, who earlier this year announced his intent to retire from the Senate at the end of his term, added. “You know, they harbor criminals, they, they don’t appreciate the rule of law or any kind of level of personal freedom. And I do think we have to push back. When there’s no, no penalty, there’s no sanctions – hard to find who’s doing it.”

The White House last week said it believed that Russian criminals were likely responsible for a cyberattack on the world’s largest meat producer, JBS.

The Russian government has denied being linked to recent cyberattacks in the US, including the May attack on Colonial Pipeline by ransom group DarkSide, which caused gasoline shortages and price hikes on the East Coast.

Hackers also infiltrated New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority in April, The New York Times first reported, though the group behind the hack reportedly has links to the Chinese government. The hackers did little damage and did not access train controls, according to MTA officials.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, also a Republican, on Sunday made similar remarks about Russia and the recent attacks on the US cyberinfrastructure.

“Our critical infrastructure is very exposed and we need to harden it but more than anything else, we need to go on offense. You can only play defense so long,” Graham said during an appearance on “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.”

“It’s time for the Russians to pay a price here because none of this would happen without their looking the other way or actively encouraging it,” he continued.

Biden will take his first foreign trip as US president this month, where he will meet with world leaders from across the globe, including a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the agency was investigating 100 different types of ransomware and said many of them linked back to Russia.

“If the Russian government wants to show that it’s serious about this issue, there’s a lot of room for them to demonstrate some real progress that we’re not seeing right now,” Wray told the Wall Street Journal.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Lindsey Graham says Israel will request $1 billion to replenish Iron Dome after touring the country and speaking with Netanyahu

lindsey graham
  • GOP Senator Lindsey Graham is in Israel surveying damage from the recent violence.
  • Graham said Israel would ask the US for $1 billion to replenish their Iron Dome security system.
  • The security system blocked the vast majority of the thousands of rockets Hamas fired into Israel.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham toured Israel to inspect damage from the 11 days of violence with Hamas and said Israel will request $1 billion in aid from the US to replenish their Iron Dome security system.

“There will be a $1 billion request coming to the Pentagon this week from the defense minister to replenish the Iron Dome and a few other things, to upgrade the system,” Graham said at a press conference.

Graham met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

After 11 days of fighting, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on May 20. At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, were killed, with nearly 2,000 people in Gaza injured. At least 12 people in Israel were also killed, including two children and a soldier.

In their meeting, Netanyahu told Graham: “There is no person who has done more for Israel than you,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

Israeli airstrikes destroyed residential buildings and civilian centers, including a building that housed news outlets like the Associated Press. Hamas launched thousands of missiles indiscriminately into Israel, the vast majority blocked by Israel’s defense system.

“This was the largest sustained assault in maybe history and the Iron Dome performed incredibly well, saving thousands of Israeli lives and tens of thousands of Palestinian lives,” Graham said. “I would imagine that the administration will say yes to this request and it will sail through Congress. There has been a big dust-up over the last engagement between Hamas and Israel in the United States, but I’m here to tell you that there is a wide and deep support for Israel among the Democratic party.”

In a video posted on Twitter, Graham said the more Israel is attacked, the more aid the US will send it.

“The more people try to destroy Israel, the more Hamas tries to destroy Israel, the more Iran tries to destroy Israel, the more aid that the United States will provide Israel to defend itself,” Graham said.

In another set of tweets, Graham said the “American Left” did not properly understand the “nature” of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. He said the issue is that Hamas, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, are Iranian-backed terror groups that wish “to destroy the Jewish state – not because of @IsraeliPM Netanyahu – but because of their religion.”

“If you don’t understand this, you’re making the biggest mistake since Neville Chamberlin’s Munich Agreement with Hitler. I urge the Middle and Left of Israeli politics to set the American Left straight as to the true nature of this conflict while we still have time,” Graham wrote.

A political coalition was recently formed between right-wing and centrist parties in Israel in an effort to unseat Netanyahu.

Some Democrats were critical of Israel’s airstrikes on the Gaza strip and moved to block a $735 million sale of precision-guided weapons at the height of the conflict. The arms sale was approved by Biden’s administration prior to the start of fighting.

Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said the US had been sending billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel for decades “without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights.”

Ocasio-Cortez said the funding made the US is a direct contributor to “the death, displacement, and disenfranchisement of millions.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump will lead the Republicans and his critics will be ‘erased,’ says Lindsey Graham

lindsey graham donald trump
Sen. Lindsey Graham has warned former President Donald Trump that attacking his rivals won’t help secure future election victories.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was “impossible” for the Republican Party to progress without Donald Trump being its leader.
  • He said those within the party who criticized him would “wind up getting erased.”
  • GOP lawmakers are battling over Trump’s future role within the party.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was “impossible” for the Republican Party to progress without Donald Trump being its leader and said those within the party who criticized him would “wind up getting erased.”

“The most popular Republican in America is not Lindsey Graham, it’s not Liz Cheney, it’s Donald Trump,” Graham told Fox News on Monday.

“People on our side of the aisle believe that Trump policies worked, they’re disappointed that he lost. And to try and erase Donald Trump from the Republican Party is insane. And the people who try to erase him are going to wind up getting erased.”

“It’s impossible for this party to move forward without President Trump being its leader because the people who are conservative have chosen him as their leader,” Graham told Fox News on Monday.

“He was the most consequential president for national security since Ronald Reagan … The people have chosen him, not the pundits,” he said.

Graham’s comments come as GOP lawmakers continue to argue over the extent to which Trump should continue to play a formative role within the party. Some senior Republican figures including Sen. Graham have suggested that Trump and his politics are integral to the party.

He last week suggested the party “can’t grow” without the support of the former president.

Others including Rep. Liz Cheney, have led criticism of the former president since he was accused of inciting the Capitol riot on January 6.

Trump, who has suggested he would like to run again as the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has sought to maintain a tight grip as the party’s de facto leader.

He continues to endorse candidates who pledge loyalty to him and advance his favored policies, and repeatedly attacks his Republican critics, including Cheney.

Read the original article on Business Insider