Graham to meet with Trump to talk future of GOP

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Sen. Lindsey Graham said he’ll be meeting with former President Donald Trump in the coming weeks to talk about the future of the Republican Party.

The South Carolina Republican told reporters Friday evening that he plans to encourage Trump to work with Republicans to ensure that they take back the House and the Senate in 2022.

“I’m going to try and convince him that we can’t get there without you, but you can’t keep the Trump movement going without the GOP united,” Graham said. “If we come back in 2022, then, it’s an affirmation of your policies. But if we lose again in 2022, the narrative is going to continue that not only you lost the White House, but the Republican Party is in a bad spot.”

Graham’s remarks come as most Senate Republicans are expected to acquit Trump on Saturday at the conclusion of his second impeachment trial. Graham has stayed in close touch with the former president, and spoke to him Friday morning ahead of his defense lawyers’ presentation.

The aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection ripped simmering divides wide open within the Republican Party over Trump. Party leaders and rank-and-file members are grappling with how much influence the former president should have. Many Republicans have condemned his rhetoric but few are distancing themselves from him.

Trump has made it clear that he plans to remain active in Republican politics. He’s threatened to primary Republicans who don’t stand with him, including Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), and is mulling a potential run for president again in 2024.

“Trump’s got to work with everybody,” Graham said. “You got to put your best team on the field. If it’s about revenge and going after people you don’t like, we’re going to have a problem. If this is about putting your best team on the field, we’ve got a decent chance at coming back.”

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