A brutally frank Graham says his party is “completely screwed up"

Ted Cruz is not completely crazy. Republicans will not get completely killed in November if the Texas senator is nominated. But the party is completely screwed up.

So said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in what ranks as one of the most brutally frank, and often funny, assessments yet of the presidential primaries.

During the interview on the Comedy Channel’s "The Daily Show," Sen. Graham linked what he described as Donald Trump’s campaign of race baiting, religious bigotry and xenophobia to 35 percent of the Republican party.

Graham endorsed Cruz because he is not Trump, he is “not completely crazy” and, while he may be poison, there is a chance of finding an antidote.

“I am saying my party is completely screwed up,” the South Carolina senator told "The Daily Show" host, Trevor Noah, during the often hugely funny interview.

Trump responded with a tweet: “It is amazing how @LindseyGrahamSC gets on so many T.V. shows talking negatively about me when I beat him so badly (ZERO) in his pres run.”

A tape was played of Graham stating that if Cruz was murdered in the Senate, no one would be convicted if the trial happened in the Senate. This reference was to the unpopularity of Cruz among senators.

Graham said he was endorsing Cruz because “he is not completely crazy.”
“And he’s a Republican. We will not get completely killed, and if Donald Trump carries the banner for my party, I think it taints conservatism for generations to come.”

He added, “I think his campaign is opportunistic, race baiting, religious bigotry, xenophobia.”

When asked why the Republican base “seems to fit (Trump) like a glove,” Graham said: “Thirty-five percent of my party believe Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya. He’s locked that crowd down.”

A tape was played of Graham comparing Trump and Cruz to a choice between being shot or poisoned. “Well Donald is like being shot in the head,” the senator said. “You might find an antidote to poisoning. I don’t know but maybe there’s time. I am saying my party is completely screwed up.”

He added, “If it was up to me, I would not nominate anyone ... we would start all over again.”

When South African Noah, in a reply to a question from Graham, said he was not a citizen or a green card holder, the senator said he was in trouble if Trump is elected: “A young, black, liberal from Africa is not going to work with (Trump).” 

Graham also said he prefers John Kasich, but the Ohio governor has no chance of winning the nomination.