Graham denies Trump calling shots in the Senate

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) denied Sunday that former President Trump is calling the shots in the Senate after a bipartisan deal on the border collapsed because the former president didn’t support it.

NBC’s Kristen Welker asked Graham on “Meet the Press” to respond to comments made by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) who said lawmakers should “just not even exist as a Senate then if we have to ask permission from Donald Trump for everything we do. Let’s just do our work.”  Welker then pressed Graham on whether Trump was “calling the shots” in the Senate.

“No. I mean, I’ve voted against things that, you know, he doesn’t like. The point is, to Lisa: Would you support the idea that our ally should pay us back, if they can, when we’re $34 trillion in debt? This is America first in action. It’s not isolationism, but it is considering the needs of the American people,” Graham said, referencing aid to Ukraine.

“I hope to be going to Ukraine soon, and I hope to be able to tell them the aid is coming. It will be in the form of a loan. Pay us back, if you can. I want Russia to know: If you think Ukraine is going to be out of this fight, you’re dead wrong,” he said.

Graham said he supports giving aid to Ukraine if the U.S. makes it a a waivable, no-interest loan — a proposal that Welker noted Trump recently put forward. Graham’s comments also come weeks after Senate Republicans torpedoed a bipartisan deal that included border security measures after the former president urged lawmakers to oppose it.

Graham also confirmed that Trump will be reaching out to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) about the idea of a potential loan for Ukraine.

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