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Trump lashes out at Lindsey Graham after he accuses the president of showing ‘weakness’

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President Donald Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham, once bitter enemies, have become close allies since the 2016 election as the South Carolina Republican realized it was in his personal interest to cozy up to the White House. But on Tuesday, fractures emerged between the two in public over a key issue for Graham: Iran.

Graham is on the severely hawkish wing of the Republican Party, and he clearly wants a war with Iran. He began a series of tweets Tuesday by praising Vice President Mike Pence’s briefing that day about the recent attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, saying he believes that “such a sophisticated attack could not have occurred without Iran’s blessing and direct involvement.” He called it an “an act of war” and lauded the Trump administration’s “efforts to create a regional coalition, thoroughly brief the Congress on the actions taken, and come up with a plan of action to restore deterrence against an evil regime in Iran.”

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But after these words of praise for the executive branch, he offered a mild critique that was bound to get under Trump’s skin:

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Trump was not happy with saying his previous actions — pulling out from a direct strike on Iran at the last minute reportedly because of the potential for a high number of casualties — was a “sign of weakness,” even though Graham also called it “measured.” He responded:

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It seems Graham was trying, by wrapping his criticism of the president in praise, to mildly nudge the president toward taking a more aggressive approach toward Iran. It’s hard to imagine, in fact, that Graham isn’t hoping for all-out war.

The attempt at persuasion was reminiscent of another exchange that played out recently on Twitter when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) argued over who Trump loves more. Paul, an isolationist, argued that he was Trump’s true ally, aligned with the president’s dovish instincts. Cheney, meanwhile, contended that the president is really more of a hawk, like her. They all know that Trump doesn’t handle criticism well, so they offer their opinions to the president in the guise of pretending they really already agree with him.

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But it seems Graham wasn’t subtle enough and overshot when he tried to critique Trump’s previous decision — and the president didn’t buy it. Whether Trump will, nevertheless, be pressured into or decide to launch a needless and disastrous war in Iran, it’s hard to say.


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‘Worse than Obama’: Lindsey Graham has full-blown freak out over Trump’s latest Syria statements

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday had a full-blown freak out after President Donald Trump publicly said that the Turkish slaughter of the Kurds in northern Syria was not America's problem.

Writing on Twitter, the senator had his harshest condemnation yet of the president's decision to abruptly pull American troops out of Syria while giving Turkey a green light to invade the area.

"I hope President Trump is right in his belief that Turkeys invasion of Syria is of no concern to us, abandoning the Kurds won’t come back to haunt us, ISIS won’t reemerge, and Iran will not fill the vacuum created by this decision," Graham wrote. "However, I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq."

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Ex-GOP lawmaker will run for Senate in Kansas — as a Democrat

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A Kansas state lawmaker who left the Republican Party last year will run next year for the U.S. Senate -- as a Democrat.

State Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) will run for the seat held since 1997 by the retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), reported the Associated Press.

Republicans have not lost a U.S. Senate race in Kansas since 1932, but Democrats are feeling more confident with the victories last year of Gov. Laura Kelly and Rep. Sharice Davids.

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Trump waves off deaths in Syria: The Kurds are ‘no angels’

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to leave Syria by saying the Kurds are "no angels."

Trump made the remarks during a White House meeting.

"They are no angels, by the way," he was quoted as saying about the Kurds.

Republicans have accused Trump of betraying a U.S. ally by abandoning the Kurds to be crushed by Turkish forces in Syria.

Read some of the reports below.

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