South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is no fan of Donald Trump, but he said Friday morning that he thought the questions posed to Trump by Fox News' moderators were tough ones — but that didn't stop him from cracking some jokes at the first-time candidate's expense.
"I had the exact same idea, that this was more of an inquisition than it was a debate," Graham told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program
, sipping a beer with show host Joe Scarborough while talking on the live broadcast from a Cleveland pub.
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"At the end of the day, ask the man a question to explain his positions and his solutions rather than start out with a 10-minute question saying you're the biggest bastard on the planet."
"That does set him up," Scarborough agreed.
"He's not," said Graham. "I mean, he may be in the top 10, but he's not [the biggest]."
from Fox News' Bret Baier, asked candidates to raise their hand if they are not willing to pledge their support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person. Trump complained
Friday that the question was a "set up beyond belief" to target him.
Graham pointedly said he would support the eventual Republican nominee, if it's not him, and even if it was Trump.
"I would vote for the nominee," said Graham. "If it was Donald, I would hold my nose and vote [for him], but Hillary Clinton will beat him like a drum."
After all, said Graham, "60 percent of the people [polled] say they would never vote for him under any circumstance. Yeah, that seems like a good guy to pick."
Graham, who was part of the "happy hour" debate held in the hours before the prime-time event, also discussed the challenges of having a heated discussion in a cold, empty arena. Very few people attended the first event, while the main debate was sold out.
"It's like having a debate in a bathroom," said Graham. "At the end of the day, it was a bit uncomfortable. When people start getting you going and the guy next to you or the gal next to you is fun. But, you know — you feed off the crowd. When there is no crowd, it's hard to feed."
But turning serious, Graham discussed Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer's announcement
on Thursday that he will vote against the nuclear agreement with Iran because he does not believe Iran will change.
"It is a very political big deal," Graham said, saying President Barack Obama's comparison of Republicans
who oppose the deal to Iran's hardliners was a blow.
Moderates in Iran were shut down in 2009, said Graham, and "Chuck saying no to this deal is a very big political move, and it's not between this bad deal and a war, it's between this deal and a better deal."
But the debates, though, were a "missed opportunity" to talk about things "that really mattered," said Graham.
"Did you understand what our position on immigration was after this debate?" said Graham. "You're not going to self-deport 11 million people. I don't know whether we're at self-deportation or they're just going to magically go away."
He also railed against Trump's campaign announcement about Mexicans, saying that that country's government is not making its criminals come to the United States.
"They're coming here because they want to try to get a better life," Graham told the program. "They live in hell holes. They're mostly very good people. The whole construct that they're sending their worst to America I reject."
Further, such words are "demonizing" people with relatives who live legally in the United States.
"At the end of the day, I think we're missing a great opportunity to talk about a party that can grow, fix immigration in a rational way," said Graham of the rhetoric about immigration. "I'm disappointed as to where we're going on immigration. We're going backward, not forward on, as a party."
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