• Lindsey Graham said he liked Donald Trump because he feared him.
  • "Everybody was afraid of him. Including me," the South Carolina Republican said on Friday.
  • Graham was once a vocal critic of Trump but became a close ally during his time as president.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he liked former President Donald Trump because he feared him.

"You know what I liked about Trump? Everybody was afraid of him. Including me," the South Carolina Republican said while speaking at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday.

"The Chinese ambassador came in and said, 'we're trying to figure out Trump.' I said, 'take a number, get in line."

"But here's one thing I can tell you about him – don't cross him. Don't you miss that? Don't you miss an America that people respected and were a little bit afraid of?"


The senator from South Carolina was a vocal critic of Trump when he ran for the Republican nomination for president, famously calling him a "race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot."

"If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed – and we will deserve it," Graham tweeted in May 2016.

However, after Trump was elected, Graham became one of his staunchest allies and defenders.

The two briefly butted heads earlier this year, following Trump stating that he would consider pardoning those sentenced for the Capitol riot if he was re-elected. Graham condemned the comments, and in response, Trump called him a RINO – Republican in Name Only.

Despite his continued public support of the former president, reports have suggested the senator has been more critical behind closed doors.

Graham reportedly threatened to seek to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office during the Capitol riot, according to an excerpt from "This Will Not Pass," a book by the New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns. 

Last month, audiotapes were leaked in which the senator could be heard criticizing Trump following the Capitol riot, saying he "plays the TV game" and "went too far."

However, it seemed that the two were on good terms on Friday, as Graham praised the former president, who delivered the keynote speech at the event.

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