Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday warned Senate colleagues that former President Donald Trump will slam GOP members who vote for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s deal to help raise the debt limit, The Hill reported.
The South Carolina Republican, speaking to the Senate Republican Conference during a private lunch, blasted McConnell for putting GOP members in position to get “shot in the back” over the deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., The Hill said Thursday.
McConnell, R-Ky., backed away from his earlier vow not to give in to Democrats and help them raise the debt limit, Graham told fellow senators. He added that the minority leader had “led them on a charge up a hill and they were getting shot in the back.”
One Republican senator told The Hill that Graham warned colleagues Trump “is going to be engaged on this issue.”
A second person familiar with Graham’s remarks confirmed them to The Hill.
Other senators, though, told The Hill that it was unclear from Graham’s words whether McConnell was to blame for senators getting shot in the back. However, they agreed the comments were highly critical of McConnell’s handling of the debt limit situation.
Although he refused to offer details about his comments at lunch, Graham told The Hill on Wednesday that he disagreed with McConnell’s decision to cut a deal with Schumer to create a special legislative pathway on the debt limit.
“I think this is a mistake, but we’ll see what happens,” Graham told The Hill. “We’ve been telling our Republican base for four months, ‘[Democrats] are spending money by themselves, they should raise the debt ceiling by themselves through reconciliation.’
“A lot of people believe that changing the rules so they [Democrats] can do it without reconciliation is helping.”
He added to The Hill that it was “pretty obvious to me that this will not be received well by the Republican faithful, including Donald Trump.”
Trump on Wednesday issued a statement harshly criticizing McConnell for giving Democrats until mid-December to find a resolution to raise the debt ceiling.
“Mitch McConnell just folded on the Debt Ceiling, a total victory for the Democrats — didn’t use it to kill the $5 Trillion Dollar (real number!) Build Back Worse Bill that will essentially change the fabric of our Country forever,” Trump said in his statement.
The former president, referring to McConnell, added that “The Old Crow is a disaster!”
McConnell needs 10 GOP senators to vote in favor of his deal with Schumer on Thursday, and Graham’s warning could make that difficult. The proposed bill would prevent cuts to Medicare and allows for the raising of the nation’s debt ceiling without a filibuster.