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Lindsey Graham says he won't back Mitch McConnell for Senate GOP leader unless McConnell has a 'working relationship' with Trump

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  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said Mitch McConnell needed to work with Donald Trump to get Graham's support.

  • Graham said any GOP leader in the House or the Senate must be able to work "effectively" with Trump.

  • Trump has repeatedly lashed out at McConnell, calling him a "RINO" and "Old Crow."

Sen. Lindsey Graham has hit out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying he won't back McConnell to lead the GOP unless McConnell has a "working relationship" with former President Donald Trump.

Talking to the Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday, Graham slammed the Senate minority leader for his broken-down relationship with the former president.

"Elections are about the future," Graham said. "If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump."

He added that he saw Trump as "the most consequential Republican since Ronald Reagan," though Trump doesn't currently hold any public office and has not officially declared a 2024 presidential bid.

"It's his nomination if he wants it, and I think he'll get reelected in 2024," Graham said.

"I liked Senator McConnell," Graham added. "But here's the question — can Senator McConnell effectively work with the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump?"

"I'm not going to vote for anybody for leader of the Senate as a Republican, unless they can prove to me that they can advocate for an America First agenda and have a working relationship with President Trump because if you can't do that, you will fail," Graham said.

Trump has repeatedly lashed out at McConnell. This week, he called McConnell a "loser" for defending GOP Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, who contradicted Trump's claims seeking to cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election.

"I think Senator Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election," McConnell told CNN, prompting Trump's ire. "And I agree with him."

In a statement issued in November, Trump also slammed McConnell and other Republicans who backed the infrastructure bill, calling them "RINOs" — Republicans In Name Only — and saying they should be "ashamed of themselves" for voting for "Democrat longevity."

Trump also gave McConnell the moniker "Old Crow" and accused him of "jeopardizing" other Republican senators' reelection chances. Trump further mocked McConnell in a November 13 statement in which he suggested the Kentucky senator should go see the infrastructure bill signed into law and "put up with the scorn from Great Republican Patriots that are already lambasting him."

McConnell, however, has said he is "proud" of his vote for President Joe Biden's bill and said it would be a "godsend" for his state.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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