Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he will only vote for US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to lead the Republican Party in the upper chamber if he mends fences with former President Donald Trump.
"If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump. He's the most consequential Republican since Ronald Reagan," Graham said on Fox News on Wednesday night.
"It's his nomination if he wants it, and I think he'll get reelected in 2024,” added Graham, a close ally of Trump.
"I like Sen. McConnell," Graham said. "Can Sen. McConnell effectively work with the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump? I’m not going to vote for anybody that can’t have a working relationship with President Trump."
"If you can't do that, you will fail," Graham also said.
McConnell announced earlier this week that he would run for another term as the top Republican leader in the Senate. “I’m going to be running again for leader later this year,” he said on Tuesday.
Trump has been reportedly trying to depose McConnell, the top GOP figure in the upper chamber, by supporting his Republican contender.
“Trump has spoken recently with senators and allies about trying to depose Mr. McConnell and whether any Republicans are interested in mounting a challenge,” the Wall Street Journal reported in September, citing “people familiar with the conversations.”
The GOP leader in the Senate has distanced himself from Trump since the former president was accused by the Washington establishment and media of inciting his supporters to invade the Capitol in the wake of his loss in the disputed 2020 presidential election.
McConnell has previously said that Trump is "morally responsible" for provoking the January 6 storming of the Capitol to overturn the election results.
On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters occupied the US Capitol while lawmakers were in the process of reviewing the certification of state electors which indicated Biden's victory. Some Trump supporters had hoped that this process could have resulted in some of the electors being disqualified, thus overturning the outcome of the presidential election.
It is claimed by some that the demonstrators were infiltrated and incited by provocateurs from US intelligence agencies, who orchestrated the “false flag operation” in order to get rid of Trump.
Some among the crowd clashed with police, and some made threats to beat up a number of Democratic lawmakers. Some also inflicted damage on parts of the Capitol building.
Trump has been casting doubt on the outcome of his loss by insisting it was the result of fraud. He has said that the 2020 presidential election was “the greatest Election Hoax in history.”
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