Lindsey Graham says GOP "can’t grow" without Trump leading

Graham ripped into fellow Republican Liz Cheney during a segment with Fox News host Sean Hannity

Published May 7, 2021 8:20PM (EDT)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, believes the modern-day GOP is the political party of Trump, and moving forward without the former president in a leadership role is impossible. 

During a Thursday night segment with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Graham ripped into fellow Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney — who currently faces a cacophony of calls to be tossed from her leadership position as House Republican Conference chair over her vocal criticism of Trump for pushing the so-called "Big Lie": demonstrably false statements that widespread voter fraud propelled President Joe Biden to office last November.

"Can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no," Graham told Hannity.

"I've always liked Liz Cheney, but she's made a determination that the Republican Party can't grow with President Trump. I've determined we can't grow without him," the senator added.  

The declaration from Graham follows increased pressure from pro-Trump members to oust Cheney from her role as GOP Conference Chair, the third-ranking position among House Republicans. While it remains unclear exactly what action will be taken by Republican leadership, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, is a presumptive successor who has the support of former President Donald Trump. As Politico noted on Friday, Trump may support Stefanik, but the online MAGA faithful are less convinced she's on their side. 

Yet, according to The American Conservative Union, led by frequent Fox News guest Matt Schlapp, Stefanik has scored extremely low when it comes to voting with Trump and hard-line conservative principles. Stefanik currently has a 43.64 percent lifetime rating from the ACU — while Cheney earned a 78.03 percent lifetime rating from the ultra-conservative organization.

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

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