Donald Trump must not be giving up on any Republican.
On a day filled with tension over his meeting with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Lindsey Graham let slip a fascinating piece of news: The presumptive nominee reached out to the South Carolina Republican late Wednesday for what became a 15-minute phone conversation.
It didn’t result in any endorsement, but Trump’s sharpest Republican critic on Capitol Hill said that the two men agreed to stop insulting one another. “He won,” Graham said, calling Trump “very funny” in their conversation. “He obviously can take a punch.”
Trump’s public statements have made clear he has nothing but disdain for Graham, a feeling that is very much reciprocated by the senator. Graham never made it onto the main debate stage in his short-lived campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, but he used his media appearances and his spot in the under-card debates to lambaste Trump as reckless and dangerous, saying he didn’t have the requisite knowledge to be president.
Trump returned the favor, particularly during his campaign swings in South Carolina leading up to state’s primary in late February. Over the course of one day there, he called Graham “a disgrace” and “a nut job” and “one of the dumbest human beings.”
A few days later, in a long interview in the Capitol, Graham returned the favor by calling Trump “a nut job” and “a loser as a person.” Later that night, at a charity dinner with congressional correspondents, Graham did a stand-up routine bashing Trump, saying his party had gone “bats**t crazy.”
Graham told reporters that he would remain focused on helping Republicans win down-ballot races but would now steer clear of his rants against Trump.
“It was all delivered in a campaign,” he said of the insult trading with Trump.