Lindsey Graham has gotten so close to Donald Trump, the president and South Carolina’s senior senator have gone golfing together twice in the same week.
It’s an unusual relationship, considering that Graham has been one of the GOP’s most frequent critics of Trump. The two have clashed repeatedly going back to the 2016 Republican primary race, and Graham publicly declined to vote for Trump last November.
So why are the two now close? Politico reported Monday that the bond was formed because Graham was one of the last Republican senators still pushing for a repeal of Obamacare.
Even after GOP leaders had moved on from healthcare when multiple proposals failed to win majority approval in the Senate over the summer, Graham pushed ahead with his own bill, co-sponsored with Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
The idea was scheduled for a vote in late September, but was ultimately dropped when it became apparent it didn’t have the votes to pass.
“One thing he likes, I think, about me, is I don’t quit. It wasn’t enough to just move on after health care. I said: 'BS,'” Graham said in an interview about his budding relationship with the president.
“He saw in me a guy that had an idea that made sense and was willing to fight. So that’s created sort of a bond.”
But political figures are skeptical if any good will between Graham and the often mercurial Trump will last.
“The president does not have a track record of disagreeing agreeably,” Joel Sawyer, a South Carolina political consultant, told Politico. “The interesting part to see: After the golf trips, the next time Sen. Graham decides he cannot back the president on something, what the president's reaction is going to be."