Lindsey Graham suggests McCain would have changed his mind about Trump if they had more time together

John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. John McCain's funeral was in many ways a pointed critique of President Trump, who had once called the Arizona Republican a "loser" and said he was not a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam. But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) thinks that had McCain lived longer, he might have eventually changed his mind about Trump.

Graham told The Associated Press this week that he "regrets" that McCain "didn't have more time" with the president, pointing out that McCain was able to forgive the men who imprisoned him in Vietnam. Graham optimistically theorized: "Who knows what would have happened over time?"

McCain and Graham were close personal friends, but they had key disagreements about the president. While neither of them backed Trump during the 2016 election, Graham ultimately softened his view on the man he once called a "jackass" and refused to vote for. The Associated Press reports that Graham's newfound Trump enthusiasm has "confused colleagues and caused double-takes across Washington."

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After McCain's death in August, Graham said that Trump criticizing McCain "pisses me off to no end" and that the president's reaction to McCain's death was "disturbing," USA Today reports. Trump had reportedly declined to put out a statement praising McCain, per The Washington Post, instead offering his "deepest sympathies" to the family over Twitter. After caving to criticism, Trump released slightly more in-depth remarks two days later.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.