In an interview this weekend with 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman for Balance of Power, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jack Graham captures the essence of problem–not just for himself, but any Republican candidate for office running downticket from increasingly presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump:
Asked if he was trying to have it both ways by simultaneously expressing support and opposition to Donald Trump’s candidacy, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Graham had a simple answer: “Yeah. I would like to have it both ways.” [Pols emphasis]
“…I have said I don’t like [Trump’s] behavior. I don’t respect his behavior,” Graham said. “His conversations about Mexicans, about women, about Muslims, have been unacceptable to me.”
From there, the former NFL player turned candidate quickly pivoted to the flipside, calling Trump his “teammate.”
“He and I are on the same team. We’re both members of the Republican party,” Graham said. “Throughout my career, with teammates, I’ve said we’ve got to tell each other the truth. That’s how you make the team better.”
Sure it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this could honestly be the most honest answer we’ve seen from any Republican on Trump’s divisive campaign yet. It’s not objectively possible for a well-adjusted adult to defend the things that Trump has said on the stump, and yet every Republican in America faces the prospect of not just having to excuse Trump’s statements, but to actively support him all the way through November in the likely event he wins the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
We don’t envy anyone trying to defend their own political aspirations as a member of the Party of Trump™, but the fact remains that they will all have to do it before the end. There are a variety of approaches to this delicate question, from full-throated embrace of Trump’s rhetoric to the more standoffish version of Trump apologetics we’re seeing from Graham.
But as 9NEWS continues, all roads lead to the same end:
Graham characterized Trump as improving in the areas he’s concerned about, referencing Trump’s recent foreign policy speech.
“I do think [Trump has] the capacity to be something different if he in fact is in the White House,” Graham said. [Pols emphasis]
And with that, Jack Graham cashes in his credibility with the November electorate.
But hey, what can he do? He has no choice.