Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has been trying to help mend the relationship between former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., The Hill reported Wednesday.
Trump, who publicly has slammed McConnell since the leader criticized the then-president for his actions on Jan. 6, apparently complimented the senator in speaking with Graham.
The Hill reported that Graham told colleagues that Trump has conceded in recent private conversations that McConnell “helped” him during his four years in office.
Two Republican senators told The Hill about conversations Graham, who played golf with Trump this past weekend, has had with GOP colleagues.
“Lindsey was with the president this last weekend. From what I understand, Trump said something complimentary about Mitch,” one senator said.
Another senator confirmed Trump conceded to Graham that McConnell had indeed helped him at key moments.
When one of Graham’s colleagues was asked why Trump continues to criticize McConnell, despite acknowledging he was a helpful ally, the lawmaker gave a perplexed shrug.
Graham on Tuesday confirmed to The Hill that he spent time with Trump this weekend. When asked about the Trump-McConnell relationship, Graham said, “I gotta go.”
McConnell was instrumental in getting three of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — confirmed. The leader also shepherded through Congress several of Trump’s biggest accomplishments.
However, McConnell was highly critical of Trump during a floor speech about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The leader did not vote to convict Trump during the Senate impeachment trial, and largely has refrained from criticizing the former president since that speech.
Many Republicans believe the infighting between Trump and McConnell hurts the GOP as a party.
Graham, who has become a Trump ally, appears to be trying to broker a peace deal between the GOP’s two most powerful members.
The South Carolina senator has encouraged Trump to work with McConnell and Republicans on winning back the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Trump recently spoke to GOP senators and allies in an effort to replace McConnell as the Senate Republican leader, but the effort failed to gain any traction.
McConnell’s support in the GOP is “solid” and colleagues “have a high level of confidence in his ability to navigate on very difficult, thorny issues,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., told the Journal.
Even Trump allies such as Sens. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and John Kennedy, R-La., said they don’t expect anyone to challenge McConnell for the top leadership position.
“That’s not going to happen. There’s full support for Mitch McConnell in our caucus and there will be no change there,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Trump’s biggest critic in the Senate GOP conference.