President Trump's short speech on the border Tuesday night was not universally celebrated, either on style or substance, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) liked it, and so did Fox News host Sean Hannity. "This is the most presidential I have seen President Trump," Graham told Hannity on Tuesday night. "It was compelling and everything he said was true."
Hannity and Fox Business host Lou Dobbs are among the immigration hardliners who have been privately advising Trump to "push forward for the wall funding and break the Democrats' will," The Daily Beast reports. Talking points distributed by the White House during the speech instructed Trump surrogates to describe the address using words like "presidential," "confident," "leadership," "strong," and "empathetic."
Before the speech, Reuters released a poll showing Trump's border wall idea to be really unpopular, his shutting down the government over wall funding less popular still, and a growing number of Americans blaming Trump for the shutdown. Also Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) joined GOP colleagues Susan Collins (Maine), Shelly Moore Capito (W.Va.), and Cory Gardner (Colo.) in backing Democratic-led bipartisan legislation that would reopen the parts of the government that don't deal with the border wall.
Graham tried to head off GOP defections, too: "To my Republican colleagues, this is the best chance we'll ever have to help President Trump get border wall funding, steel barrier funding, and at the same time fix the loopholes. The only way we lose is to give in. If we'll stand firm, put deals on the table that make sense, we will win this on behalf of the American people — but if we undercut the president, that's the end of his presidency and the end of our party, and we deserve to be punished if we give in now." Presumably that speech, not Graham's push for comprehensive immigration reform, is what got him invited onto Hannity.