Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | GOP2016 | Lindsey Graham | Trump

Graham: Donald Trump is Going to 'Kill My Party'

By    |   Friday, 10 July 2015 02:31 PM

Donald Trump should use his "economic genius and his talents" in a more constructive way, as his statements on immigrants are going to "kill my party," Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday.

"I think he said something that has brought people who are frustrated about our immigration system to light, but he also said it in a way that's going to kill my party," the South Carolina Republican said on CNN's "At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan" on Friday.

Graham said Trump's comments about Mexico sending rapists and drug dealers into the United States reinforces a "narrative within the Republican Party and the Hispanic community that is going to destroy our ability to win a presidential election, and the party needs to be clear about how we handle this."

"I think he should do better, because I think he’s a better man than that," Graham said, noting that the businessman is involved in a lot of charitable work.

Several other candidates have also bashed Trump for his comments, Politico reported, including former New York Gov. George Pataki, who on Monday challenged the real estate mogul to debate "mano a mano, anytime, on the issue of immigration and pit your ideas against my solutions."

Ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, meanwhile, called Trump a "tireless self-promoter" and a "heat-seeking missile for publicity."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was even more direct, after Trump tweeted that he "needs a new pair of glasses committed by illegal immigrants."

"Hey Donald, I saw your tweet the other day," Perry said in a three-minute response video. "But I think you might need to borrow my glasses to take a good look at the steps I took to secure the border while I was governor of Texas."

He continued with a dig at Trump's reality TV roots from "The Apprentice," saying that the former NBC star's remarks "might make for good reality TV, but they’re way out of touch with reality."

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Part of their issue is that with Trump's popularity surging, people like Graham, Fiorina, and Perry won't show up on the stage for the first GOP debate on Aug. 6 in Cleveland, where only the top 10 candidates will be participating.

However, Trump and another non-political candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, would be able to take the stage, a fact that has angered Graham enough to call the top 10 format a "dumb way" to thin out the burgeoning Republican presidential field.

Graham's popularity is only in the single low digits, with a Real Clear Politics polling average of just 1.3 percent, according to Politico. Trump is averaging overall at 6.5 percent, but recent polls from CNN/ORC put him at 12 percent and Fox News at 11 percent.

On Friday, Graham said if he were a celebrity with "a show on CNN or FOX or NBC," he'd be doing better in the polls, and "Brad Pitt would have a better chance of getting in the debate at this point."

"I don't mind weeding out the field over time, but a national poll tests celebrity, big states have an advantage vs. small states," Graham said. "People who have run before have an advantage over those who haven't."

With it only being July, he continued, "a national poll is a lousy way, in my view, to determine who should be on the stage, and I quite frankly resent it."

He said he blames Fox News and the Republican National Committee for the format, and said that he would find any way to put all those who have viable campaigns to be on the stage and to start weeding them out after a couple of debates.

"It's not about me," Graham said. "It's about destroying the early primary process of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina. At the end of the day, you're rewarding money and celebrity over the hard work in the early states."

An earlier, non-primetime event will be held for lower-tier candidates, but Graham said he doesn't know if he'll take part in that.

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Donald Trump should use his "economic genius and his talents" in a more constructive way, as his statements on immigrants are going to "kill my party," Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday.
Lindsey Graham, Trump
Friday, 10 July 2015 02:31 PM
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