Sen. Lindsey Graham held court with the press after the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with DHS' Nielsen and said he was shocked by Trump's sudden turnaround on a bipartisan immigration deal and very specifically blasted his entire staff.
This is more like the anti-Trump Sen. Graham we've seen in the past and not the complete suck-up to Donald that he had recently morphed into.
Sen. Graham began by giving the press gaggle a time-line of events that has taken so far that led up to last Thursday's immigration meeting including defending Sen. Durbin. Graham said that at 10:00 am everything was running smoothly to get a deal done.
Sen. Graham said, "Durbin said he had a great meeting with the president, wanted to know if Lindsey was on-board with the agreement and I was, cause we had reached agreement among ourselves. By 12:00, things had changed. I'm not going to talk about the meeting. I know what I heard and I know what I said and I will try to figure out the best I can what happened between 10:00 and 12:00."
The Senator is backing up Durbin and his verification over Trump's "shithole" statement.
And also what happened within those two hours?
Graham continued, "I will say I don't think the president was well served by his staff. I think the president that we saw Tuesday, that that Donald Trump exists and somehow, by 12:00 on Thursday, something happened and I don't think he was well served by his staff, but he's responsible for the way he conducts himself and so am I. Can't blame that on the staff."
He didn't excuse Trump's mealymouthed approach to governing or his behavior. By not coming out publicly and admitting Trump used the word "shithole," he may believe he's helping the chances of a deal, but he's also covering up for Trump's despicable behavior.
Aaron Blake at WaPo writes, "It may help him get the immigration deal he wants, but it won't help the country reconcile this troubling episode involving the president."
Without consequences, Trump is free to continue his white nationalistic outlook and heed all advice from the extreme right wing fever swamp he surrounds himself with.
Graham continued, "But i do believe his staff was a -- (pause) "
A reporter asked, "Would that be General Kelly?
Graham replied, "Pretty much missed the mark here. I think General Kelly's a fine man but he's also part of the staff."
The Senator said he still hoped a deal will get done saying he didn't think they could do DACA without border security.
A reporter asked, "Between Tuesday and Thursday, do you mean the president got bad advice from someone on his staff?"
Graham replied, "I think somebody on his staff gave him really bad advice between 10:00 to 12:00 on Thursday. I think the president I saw on Tuesday is the guy I play golf with. He's actually funny. I thought he commanded the room and the conversation at 10:00 was pretty consistent. Something happened between 10:00 and 12:00."
Sen. Graham said if the government shuts down over this they should all be kicked out and was passionate about fixing the problems.
He continued, "What we need to do better is a reliable partner at the White House."
This is a cannonball being shot across the bow of the Oval office. Stop lying to Congress.
"Somebody like the president who showed up on Tuesday. We cannot do this with people in charge at the White House who have an irrational view of immigration.
"Is Stephen Miller in that category, sir?"
And with that Graham was gone.