The Slatest

Lindsey Graham More or Less “Endorses” Cruz Saying “He’s Certainly Not My Preference, But…”

Two collegial colleagues looking at each other ttotally collegially.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham is backing Sen. Ted Cruz for president and, CNN reports, will host a fundraiser for his Senate colleague on Monday. Graham, as you may remember, ran for president for a brief spell. When he dropped out, he endorsed Jeb Bush, who, in turn, dropped out of the race after realizing nobody really wanted to vote for him. On Thursday, Graham resorted to plan Y and broke the protective glass surrounding Ted Cruz’s candidacy. From CNN:

“I think he’s the best alternative to beat Donald Trump,” Graham said about Cruz. “I’m going to help Ted in any way I can… He’s certainly not my preference, but he’s a reliable Republican, conservative, which I’ve had many differences with,” the South Carolina Republican said. “John Kasich is the most viable general election candidate. I just don’t see how John gets through the primary. This is an outsider year, and he is an insider.”

Does that qualify as an endorsement? Yes, right? Some aren’t so sure, but I’m going with yes. If you’re raising money for someone, you’re endorsing him. Even if it’s Ted Cruz. Which is funny because Lindsey Graham hates Ted Cruz. Politico has counted and listed the ways Graham loathes Cruz, but here’s the essence:

1. “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you,” Graham said, referencing Cruz’s unpopularity with his colleagues, at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 72nd Congressional Dinner.

2. “It’s like being shot or poisoned,” Graham told reporters at a press conference in January when asked who he preferred between Donald Trump and Cruz. “What does it really matter?”

More than Graham anticipated, it seems.