Sen. Lindsey Graham, a recent defender of President Donald Trump, has offered an interesting take on the notorious anti-Trump op-ed published this week by The New York Times and allegedly written by a “senior official” in the White House.
Speaking with CNN host Wolf Blitzer, the South Carolina senator speculated Friday that the author of the piece may be trying to manufacture “a new line of attack” against the president to make up for the failures of special counsel Robert Mueller’s lagging investigation.
“This op-ed piece about the personality of the president — suggesting that he’s unhinged and incapable of being a good president without being minded — tells me a lot about the Mueller investigation,” Graham remarked.
“This, to me, is a signal that if there’s nothing there with Russia, in terms of the president working with the Russians during his campaign, the next line of attack is the man is unfit for office.”
In other words, because Mueller has failed to uncover any evidence that the president had colluded with Russian operatives to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, perhaps the “senior official” behind the op-ed is surreptitiously trying to push the investigation in another direction.
“I’m definitely saying that this shows to me a shift about the attack on the president,” Graham added in a statement to reporters, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Here’s what I think is coming: I think you’re going to find a report by Mueller that has absolutely no evidence of collusion between the president and the Russians, and the new line of attack is going to be showcased along the lines in this op-ed piece.”
The South Carolina senator also pointed to the coincidental timing, in that the op-ed was published only days after Mueller announced he’ll accept written answers from the president instead of forcing him to participate in an in-person interview.
“When you take the op-ed piece … and you look at the fact that Mueller was willing to accept written answers about collusion, it suggests to me, and I may be wrong, that the Mueller investigation – when it comes to collusion, there’s nothing there,” Graham said.
Plus, the op-ed contained nothing relevant about the Trump administration. The “senior official” who penned it even praised the president’s accomplishments, including “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.”
The official’s only beef with Trump was his allegedly “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective” leadership style. But as noted by Graham during his interview with Blitzer, none of this matters.
“[T]his palace intrigue … I don’t mean to bust a bubble here, but most people in South Carolina are not going to take the op-ed in The New York Times very seriously,” he said. “President Trump, in my world, where I live, in South Carolina, most people are very pleased with what the president’s doing.”
“I think this president has done more to rebuild a broken military than anybody since Ronald Reagan. I think this president has taken it to our enemies much better than the last president. I think withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement was a good decision. I think cutting taxes is benefiting the average American. What they will say, in the White House, palace intrigue is one thing, results are another.”