Politics

Sen. Lindsey Graham: ‘Zero’ Interest in Joining Trump Cabinet

South Carolina Republican has cozied up to president in recent months but says he’s running again in 2020

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., points at the Democrats as he defends Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Sen. Lindsey Graham has “zero” interest in joining the cabinet of President Donald Trump, saying he would rather nudge the president’s agenda along as a senator.

“I have zero interest in serving President Trump’s cabinet,” the South Carolina Republican told WYFF in his home state on Monday.

“I like him, and I want to help him,” Graham said of the president. “I want him to be successful. But I feel I can do more good for the country and help President Trump more effectively by being in the Senate. I’ll help him where I can and say no when I have to.”

Graham is up for re-election in 2020 and has every intention of running for a fourth term, saying he thinks he is “better at it today” than he has ever been.

“I’m going to run again,” Graham said. “There you go, you made news. I’m definitely running. ... I love my job. I love representing the people of our state.”

Graham was a fierce opponent of Trump in the nascence of the president’s political surge. But he has slowly become one of Trump’s fiercest advocates on issues he feels strongly about.

Graham unleashed a full-throated defense of newly confirmed associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at a hearing last month where he accused his Democratic colleagues of weaponizing sexual assault claims to derail Kavanaugh’s name and nomination.

For some, the senator’s partisan monologue appeared to come out of left field. But Graham dismissed it as nothing out of the ordinary.

“If you knew anything about me, you would not expect me to sit on the sidelines and watch a conservative be destroyed,” Graham said. “People on the left say, ‘What happened to Lindsey Graham?’ Not a damn thing. To people on the right, I will continue to be bipartisan. But I am a conservative, and I will stand up for my friends.”

Like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Graham thinks the Democrats’ performance throughout the confirmation process will stir the Republican base in the upcoming midterm elections.

“What they tried to do to this good man’s life was unconscionable,” Graham said. “I think it’s woken up the Republican Party. The Democratic Party was already energized. But we’re going to show up in large numbers.”

Watch: Anti-Kavanaugh Protesters Stir Up Ruckus Outside McConnell's Office

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