In the middle of the government shutdown, when it became evident that President Donald Trump had dug himself into a hole by insisting so adamantly on money for a border wall, one of his closest allies issued a stark warning. In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News on January 2, Graham said that if Trump gave in to Democrats and agreed to a deal without money for a wall it would “probably” mark “the end of his presidency.” Here is the full quote:
I’ll tell you exactly how this is going to end. The President is going to challenge the Democrats to compromise and if they continue to say no, they’re going to pay a price with American people. Most Americans want to do two things, they want to secure our border and they want to be reasonable to people like the DACA population. If he gives in now, that’s the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective President, that’s probably the end of his Presidency. Donald Trump has made a promise to the American people, he’s going to secure our border.
Graham later went on to make his threat even more dire, saying that it would be “the end of us if we give in on this issue as Republicans.”
Unsurprisingly, Graham sang a very different tune Friday afternoon when he talked to Fox News after Trump agreed to a deal that didn’t include any money for a border wall. The senator called for negotiations to reach a compromise involving protection for Dreamers and recipients of Temporary Protected Status. And if the two sides can’t come together then “the president will secure our border through executive action,” Graham warned. In the interview, Graham practically pleaded with Democrats to come to the negotiating table:
I’m somewhat optimistic the Democratic Senators who spoke yesterday are going to make sure the TPS population does not go into the darkness, that these DACA recipients will have a better life, they can go to school, they can get in-state tuition, legally. And all you’ve got to do is give the president a few billion dollars more for a barrier you’ve previously voted for. That’s all you’ve got to do, is to give him the same thing you gave Obama and Bush, and we’ll have a deal that will be good for the country. Please take advantage of this.