U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that he wants fellow 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump to stop slandering people to gain media attention in the crowded Republican field.
Trump, who visits Bluffton later Tuesday, has said Mexico is sending criminals and rapists into the United States and U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a hero despite the Arizona Republican spending more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
"I don’t care if he drops out. Stay in the race, just stop being a jackass. You don’t have to run for president and be the world’s biggest jackass," Graham, a Republican from Seneca, said on CBS This Morning. "I’m looking for him to be a responsible member of the 16-person primary and stop saying stuff like this. The world is falling apart."
Graham described Trump as a "jackass" three times during the Tuesday national television appearance. He has used the same term in other recent interviews.
Asked on CBS about the reaction of calling Trump a "jackass" repeatedly, Graham said, "A lot of people are offended. The jackasses are offended. All I can say is that I’ve had it. John is my friend. He is not a perfect person. He was tortured for 5 ½ years."
Still, a national poll released Monday has Trump topping Republicans seeking to win the party’s presidential nomination next year. Graham, who has ranked near the bottom of national polls, said Trump’s rise won’t last.
"The beginning of the end has arrived because he’s crossed a line with the American people that won’t be tolerated," Graham said.
Trump might not get a warm reception during his visit at a retirement community near Hilton Head Island, Graham said. The visit scheduled originally last month but was postponed after the Charleston church shooting that killed nine parishioners.
"The motto of the state is ‘Smiling faces, beautiful places.’ I don’t think he quite fits that motto," Graham said referring to a state tourism slogan. "I’m sure there will be some people who say, ‘Keep it up, Donald.’ But I think most South Carolinians, since I’ve lived there all my life, will be offended by what said he regarding Sen. McCain (and) his tone. We’re pretty serious people."