Lindsey Graham: 'Shame on Us as Republicans'

The senator from South Carolina is frustrated with both his party and the president over immigration. And he's still considering a White House bid.

2/02/2009 USC Upstate HEC U.S Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)

USC Upstate / Flickr

After expressing frustration with his own party over immigration reform inaction, Lindsey Graham, the long-standing Republican senator from South Carolina, suggested Sunday he still hasn’t ruled out a 2016 presidential bid.

The comments came during a conversation with Gloria Borger on CNN’s "State of the Union," where Graham joined fellow GOP colleagues in calling President Obama’s immigration announcement last week unconstitutional.

But Graham was not done dishing out the blame.

“Shame on us as Republicans,” he added. “Shame on us as Republicans for having a body that cannot generate a solution to an issue that is national security, it’s cultural and it’s economic.”

Dismissing talk of impeachment and pointing to bills passed in the Senate that have stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Graham continued, “I’m close to the people in the House, but I'm disappointed in my party. Are we still the party of self-deportation? Is it the position of the Republican Party that the 11 million must be driven out?”

Graham was in a particularly combative mood on Sunday. Earlier in the program, he blasted a new report about the 2012 Benghazi attack—released by the House Intelligence Committee, which was headed by a Republican and dismissed accusations of a political cover-up—as “full of crap.”

Of the two political parties involved in the immigration fight, Graham was clearly more critical of the Democratic president, who on Thursday unveiled an executive action that provides temporary reprieve to about 5 million immigrants in the country illegally. Dubbing Obama’s move a political calculation designed to “divide the Republican Party,” Graham warned Democrats of repercussions down the road.  

“What he did is a dangerous precedent,” Graham said. “On his own, he decided not to delay prosecution, but affirmatively granted legal status to 5 million people. That should scare every American. If he has the power to do that, what could a Republican do regarding laws that they don’t like?”

A Republican, say, like President Lindsey Graham?  

Asked if he was considering a run in 2016, the senator dodged.

“I’ll let you know if I think about running for president,” he said, echoing statements he’s made over recent months. “It’s the hardest thing one could ever do. You go through personal hell, you gotta raise a ton of money. I’m nowhere near there.”

“So is that a maybe, though?” Borger asked.

Graham paused and then nodded once.

“That’s what it was,” he said. “That’s what I just said.”

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