South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said he would support President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for Secretary of State.
Graham has been floated as a top pick for Secretary of State in Trump’s forthcoming administration, despite not having any diplomatic experience.
In a meeting with reporters Tuesday, Graham said Giuliani “is an internationally known figure” and close personal friend. Because of Giuliani’s experience during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Graham said the former mayor would be someone he could get behind as America’s top diplomat:
“He has dealt with the unimaginable, which was 9/11. He’s a loyal supporter of President Trump and he should be rewarded in my view.”
Graham also said that because he chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, “no matter who [Trump] picks, they’re gonna come see me because I fund it. And I can work with Rudy.”Rudy Giuliani — Image Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images
In addition to supporting the possibility of Giuliani’s hat being thrown in the ring for Secretary of State, Graham said he would also support John Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush:
“John Bolton and I‘ve been friends for 20 years. If he picks John Bolton, then I would support John Bolton. If he picks Rudy, I’d support Rudy because I think both of them are competent and capable.”
Graham’s colleague and ideological foe in the Senate Republican conference, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), voiced ardent opposition to Bolton as chief diplomat. In a Tuesday op-ed at Rare.us, a libertarian-leaning website, Paul wrote:
“Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years — particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president.”
But Graham laughed off such notions by Paul, joking that his fellow senator’s opposition to Bolton and Giuliani helped him make up his mind.
“They see the world pretty much like I do and the fact that Rand Paul doesn’t like either one of them helps me reach my decision,” Graham said.