“He’s (TRUMP) a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot …”

In December 2015, Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Graham, who had very little support as a presidential candidate, responded: “He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot … He doesn’t represent my [Republican] party … I don’t think he has a clue about anything … He is empowering radical Islam … You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.” He added, “I’d rather lose without Donald Trump than try to win with him.”[64]

In May 2016 Graham tweeted, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…and we will deserve it.”

In June 2016, after Trump criticized a judge of Mexican heritage, implying he could be biased, Graham said to CNN: “I don’t think [Trump is] racist but he’s playing the race card … I think it’s very un-American … If he continues this line of attack then I think people really need to reconsider the future of the [Republican] party.” Graham told The New York Times that that incident “is probably it” for anyone looking to withdraw their support of Trump: “There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary” Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president.[66]

In the November presidential election, Graham did not vote for Trump, saying, “I couldn’t go where Donald Trump wanted to take the USA & GOP.” He voted for independent candidate Evan McMullin.[67]