Some Republicans really are getting desperate to stop Donald Trump.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is set to host a fundraiser for Ted Cruz on Monday, CNN reports, during the upcoming conference of the pro-Israel group AIPAC — bringing him into the camp of a man so disliked by his fellow senators, Graham has even publicly told a joke about killing him on the floor of the chamber.
And not only that, it seems like he still can’t call it an endorsement.
“I think he’s the best alternative to Donald Trump. He’s certainly not my preference — Sen. Cruz is not — but he’s a reliable Republican conservative, of which I’ve had many differences with,” Graham told CNN’s Dana Bash. “I doubt Donald Trump’s conservatism, and I think he’d be a disaster for the party, so I’m gonna help raise money for Sen. Cruz in the pro-Israel community.”
Graham previously ran for the nomination himself, then dropped out and endorsed Jeb Bush — who in turn dropped out the night of the primary in Graham’s home state of South Carolina, which was won by Trump.
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“Okay, so you are raising money for him,” said Bash. “Are you endorsing him? Is that effectively an endorsement?”
“Well, what I’m saying,” Graham began, “you know, John Kasich, I think is the most viable general election candidate. I just don’t see how John gets through the primary. This is an outsider year, he’s seen as an insider. So I think the best alternative to Donald Trump — to stop him from getting to 1,237 [delegates] — is Ted Cruz.
“And I’m gonna help Ted in every way I can. I’m gonna raise money for him in the pro-Israel community. And if I were in one of the states coming up in terms of voting, and I didn’t like Trump, I’d vote for Cruz.”
“I’ve known and watched you, particularly with Ted Cruz over the past several years,” Bash responded. “I’m actually waiting for pigs to start flying down the street.”
“Well, it tells you a lot about where we are as a party,” Graham said, chuckling.
Just three weeks ago, Graham spoke at the Washington Press Club Foundation dinner, where he did a stand-up comedy routine skewering the Republican field, including this memorable zinger about Cruz: “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate — and the trial was in the Senate – nobody could convict you.”
Of course, at that same appearance he also spoke very seriously about the need to stop Donald Trump: “I could make a million Donald Trump jokes, and I have. But our party, and our country, is gonna have to up its game.”