Lindsey Graham jokes about the murder of Ted Cruz and finally admits the GOP "has gone batsh*t crazy" in hilariously honest speech

"If you kill Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you"

Published February 26, 2016 4:31PM (EST)

  (AP/Cliff Owen/Reuters/Carlos Barria/Photo montage by Salon)
(AP/Cliff Owen/Reuters/Carlos Barria/Photo montage by Salon)

Lindsey Graham will never get his shot at wooing reporters with his comedic talents at a White House Correspondents' Dinner, but last night -- while the remaining Republican presidential candidates were fighting it out on CNN's debate stage -- Graham got the next best thing and absolutely reamed his party, his former rivals and himself in a hilariously honest speech to the Washington Press Club.

"This is the largest number of people I've ever talked to during a Republican debate," the lighthearted also-ran joked Thursday night at the Washington Press Club Foundation's 72nd Congressional Dinner.

Graham acknowledged his campaign's failure to launch and labeled himself the "Dr. Kevorkian of the Republican party," noting his endorsement of death that failed to even save Jeb Bush's campaign a complete embarrassment in South Carolina.

At one point, Graham even donned Donald Trump's trademark "Make America Great Again" cap and sarcastically endorsed the blustery billionaire.

"I endorse Donald Trump and hope that Graham magic still exists."

Here are some of Lindsey's greatest hits:

On his failed campaign

Noting that the supposed "moderate" in the race, John Kasich, just joked about "women leaving their kitchens" and "nice guy" Ben Carson once "tried to kill his cousin and hit his mother in the head with a hammer," Graham asked, "How did I lose to these guys?"

On Ted Cruz 

“A good Republican would defend Ted Cruz after tonight,” Graham remarked, before adding, “That ain’t happening.”

“I was asked the hardest question in my political life: Do you agree with Donald Trump that Ted Cruz is the biggest liar in politics?” he said. “Too close to call.”

"If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you," Graham said, referencing the Tea Party senator's unpopular reputation with his colleagues.

And Graham did not hold back from jumping on the Cruz birther bandwagon for a night.

"I will say that our Canadian is better than your Kenyan," he quipped.

"I know exactly when Ted is going to drop out of the race. March 12 — that's Canadian week in Myrtle Beach, when all of our Canadian friends get 10 percent off."

On Marco Rubio

Calling the freshman Florida senator "the boy wonder," Graham joked that "I'm not saying he would change his positions, but he would change his positions."

"The Secret Service's main job if he's president is to keep him hydrated."

On Donald Trump

According to the Washington Post, Graham warmed up for his Press Club performance with a "a seven-minute diatribe in the Capitol basement" earlier Thursday afternoon where he ripped the Republican presidential frontrunner.

I'm “literally running out of adjectives” to impugn Trump, Graham joked to reporters.

“I think he’s going to lose and he’s going to lose badly. And I think all the things that we care about are going to be locked in place,” he said. “So don’t look at me to be the guy who stops [Hillary Clinton] from being president of the United States. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t nominate a nut job and lose, and expect it doesn’t have consequences.”

Why will Trump lose the general election? “Because he’s just generally a loser as a person and a candidate,” Graham said.

Pressed later about why Trump would lose, Graham raised his voice to make his point: “Why will he lose???? Because he’s ill-suited for the job!!!”

"I don't think he understands what makes America great."

"Our party and our country is going to have to up its game. You're going to have to ask him harder questions," Graham urged the reporters in the room. "And I don't mean to turn a funny thing into a serious thing."

On Republican Party

"The most dishonest person in America is a woman who is about to be president. How could that be? My party has gone bats*** crazy," Graham joked to raucous laughter in the room Thursday night.

"So I’m trying to be honest with the Republican Party and be the opposite of Ted Cruz," Graham then said, getting more serious in his tone. "Here’s the consequences of losing the election to Hillary Clinton: She’s going to pick qualified people who are liberal. She’s going to continue Obamacare. She’s going to continue to fund Planned Parenthood.”

"I think we’re likely to lose the last best chance in a long time to win the White House. I think that the consequences of us losing are going to be monumental for domestic and foreign policy, and the [Supreme Court].”

Watch Graham's hilariously honest remarks below:

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Republican Primary Gop Gop Civil War Lindsey Graham Ted Cruz Video