RUSH: This just cracks me up. I don’t know why, but it does. I’m looking for a sound bite to use here. Well, it’s CNN. Let me see if I can find it here. Grab sound bite number 13. Sound bite 13 is Lindsey Graham, senator, South Carolina. I actually saw this this morning when I was in the middle of doing show prep, and they had an interview with Lindsey Graham. And whoever conducted the interview at CNN (I don’t know who) said, “So — so — so after this meeting that blew up — the S-hole meeting and the sandbagging of Durbin — do you think Trump’s a racist?”
Lindsey Graham said, “No, he’s not a racist. He doesn’t make a single decision based on skin color or anything else,” and CNN has had three different panel discussions on that comment since he made it, and they are running graphics at the bottom of the screen, “Senator Graham: Trump Is Not a Racist.” So here’s the bite. This was… Dana Bash was doing the interview, and she said, “Do you think the president is a racist?”
GRAHAM: Absolutely not. Let me tell you why. You could be dark as charcoal and lily white. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re nice to him. You could be the pope and criticize him; it doesn’t matter. He’ll go after the pope. He’s a street fighter. It’s not the color of your skin that matters. It’s not the content of your character. It’s whether you show him respect and like him. And if he feels like you’re off script, you don’t like him, he punches back, and as president of the United States, the only advice I can give you is that the street fight’s over.
RUSH: When he punches back at you, you lose; it’s over. He’s president of the United States. Now, Senator Graham has been attempting to cultivate a friendship with President Trump for many, many moons. You know, President Trump comes down here on various weekends and over the holidays, and the last two or three times he has played golf with Senator Graham. Senator Graham plays golf and enjoys it, and they’ve gone out and they’ve played golf. There have been other people in the group.
But Senator Graham has asked to be there on a couple of occasions, and Trump has invited him on others, and it’s been a get-to-know-you process. And it’s worked. Senator Graham has gotten to know Trump. This is a very informed answer. It happens to be right on the money. And, frankly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong. If you are impolite, if you misbehave, if you attack Trump for no reason, the fact that he’s gonna hit back at you makes perfect sense! The reason it appears odd is that we haven’t seen it in politics before.
In politics, Republicans just take it. And I don’t mean in a turn-the-other-cheek, biblical fashion. They just take it, because they think that’s how they score points with independents. That’s how they score points with people that might be Democrats and they’re trying to convince ’em to vote Republican. The Republicans have had this convoluted idea, based on media coverage, that they’re hated and despised.
And so they have to demonstrate they’re not mean and they’re not loud and they’re not even opinionated, all to reject media coverage. Trump doesn’t care about that, and Trump is demonstrating that the old Republican technique for dealing with this kind of criticism hasn’t worked anyway. The way Trump deals with it does work. Now, it even backfires, though, on Senator Graham.
This meeting that has now been called the S-hole meeting, Senator Graham, in addition to cultivating his relationship with President Trump, desperately wants comprehensive immigration reform. It is probably at the top of his list — and if he could pull it off, it would be his life’s dream achievement — and in that, he is on same page as Senator McCain. Now, I’m not gonna so far as to say that Lindsey Graham is been insincere in his cultivation of Donald Trump.
But I do believe that he has been cultivating Trump so as to have a better chance as persuading Trump on comprehensive immigration reform, which is amnesty, and not just for the DREAMers and the DACA kids, but for everybody. And he might have been successful in certain ways, but not partnering with Durbin and not the way they did it. If you’re Trump… Let’s look at this from Trump’s perspective — which, by the way, there’s nobody better qualified in the media than I am to look at this from Trump’s perspective.
So you have the Wolff book, and the Wolff book is filled with lies and exaggerations about Trump losing his mind, about Trump not wanting to win, about Trump not caring to win, about Trump not wanting to be president, about Trump being borderline insane and trending Alzheimer’s. All of this. I don’t care what you hear about, “Well, that kind of stuff, it goes with politics. You let it roll off your back. No big deal.” Not that kind of thing.
So they decided that they had to present a different picture, ’cause this book was written by a guy who was mistakenly granted limitless access to the West Wing. And there are two or three names that have popped up responsible for it, and among them is Steve Bannon. Some are saying Kellyanne Conway vouched for Wolff. Others are saying Roger Ailes vouched for Wolff before he died. I can’t believe anybody vouched for Wolff. I just can’t…
It boggles my mind. Half of Trump’s staffing boggles my mind. But that’s another story. The Wolff book was written because Wolff had the access. And we know that Wolff lied. He lied to everybody. He lied to Trump. He lied to everybody. He lied the Bannon. “Yeah, I’m the guy that can write the favorable profile. I’m the guy that can refute all this trash being written about you in the Drive-By Media.”
And Wolff gets in there and writes this absolute travesty of half-truths, made-up things, outright lies — and all of it negative. So the decision was made to refute it. Ergo, the 55-minute televised immigration meeting with Republican and Democrat leaders from both the House and the Senate. And it was in that meeting that Dick Durbin seated — Dicky Durbin seated on Trump’s right, Steny Hoyer on Trump’s left, Dianne Feinstein across the table.
Trump is chatting amiably with everybody. He’s not demanding anything. He’s rejecting certain things that they’ve put forth. But Dianne Feinstein… You know, when the Democrats figured out the media wasn’t gonna get kicked out… I think Dicky Durbin and Hoyer realized about halfway through they were being used as props and it made ’em mad ’cause it’s gotta be insulting and offensive as hell to be outsmarted by this guy that they think is a reprobate.
They think this guy’s a boob. They think this guy’s stupid. They think that he’s dumb. They think he’s uninformed. They think he doesn’t read. They think he doesn’t care about anything. And the fact that he had outmaneuvered them and outsmarted them on nationwide TV blew ’em up. And I think they figured it out. I’m watching, and I think they figured it out halfway through it. You can see Dicky Durbin’s face change, and Hoyer too.
And Trump’s just being as cooperative as he can be, and he’s belying every assertion in the Wolff book. He’s human, he’s real, he’s accepting, and he’s accommodating, and he’s cooperative, and he’s polite, and he is encouraging and all of these things. He’s engaged. He knows what he’s talking about. It was a totally different picture than the Wolff book had put out. And Dianne Feinstein proposes a deal.
“Well, let’s do a clean DACA bill right now, Mr. President, and then we’ll come back and do comprehensive a short time after.” And Trump said, “Hey, that sounds good! I could do that.” And then Kevin McCarthy said, “Uh, Mr. President, you don’t want to do that. That clean DACA bill means there’s no security in it, no border protection or wall or any of that.” Trump didn’t care. That’s not why he had the meeting.
I told you from the minute that meeting ended it wasn’t about immigration. So DiFi proposes her bill and Trump says, “Hey, okay, I can look at that,” and then Trump further said, “I’ll sign whatever you bring me. I’ll take the heat. I’m totally capable. I like the heat. I’ll take the heat. We can’t do this without you people in this room. You put it together, you bring me what I want, and I’ll sign it. Anything you bring me, I’ll sign it.” They fell for it.
So Dick Durbin partners up with Senator Graham and they walk into that meeting, thinking after that televised meeting that they’re gonna get whatever they want because that’s what Trump said. Trump said he’ll sign whatever they bring him, that they’re smart people and that he can’t do this without them and he’ll take the heat. So Durbin and Graham brought him the wet dream comprehensive immigration reform bill that they have wished for since the Bush administration. And it promptly got blown up out of the water.
Before that happened, Durbin and Graham walk in and they see the archenemy, Stephen Miller. They hate Stephen Miller, Trump assistant, Trump aide. He’s very much anti-illegal immigration. And there were some Republicans in there. And for some reason, Dick Durbin thought that it was just gonna be him and Graham and they’re gonna be walking in there and presenting this to Trump and Trump’s gonna go, “Fine and dandy, I can live with that,” and they’re off to the races.
And it didn’t happen, and that’s when everything blew up. And there probably was more profanity in that room than just that one word. And you might ask yourself, “Well, why is Senator Graham — why didn’t he join this cacophony of people ripping into Trump for using the word or for misrepresenting or whatever?” And I think the reason is — and I’m wild guessing here, so take it under advisement, but I think the reason is that they figured out Trump knew what they were up to, and Senator Graham doesn’t want to be on Trump’s bad side. He spent too much time now getting to know him and cultivating the relationship.
Durbin doesn’t care. Durbin’s out there (paraphrasing), “He said this, said this, I’ve never seen anything worse. I’ve never heard anything worse. This is beyond the pale. This is the worst I ever heard, this is horrible, and this stupid chain migration comment scaring African-Americans ’cause all they can think about is coming over in slave ships in chains and so forth,” just descended into ridiculousness. But Senator Graham has not coined that cacophony of criticism.
But what happened was that they brought Trump essentially a trick. And they were stunned that he didn’t fall for it. And that’s why Durbin was so angry and mad. And Senator Graham thinks it’s still possible. That’s why he’s not doubling down, and that’s why he’s out there saying today that Donald Trump is not racist. You can be as black as anything or white as anything, it doesn’t matter. What matters is if you’re nice to him. You could be the pope and criticize him, it doesn’t matter, he’ll go after the pope. He’s a street fighter. It’s not the color of your skin that matters.
Isn’t that basic human behavior? You are nice to people who are nice to you. You respect people who respect you. You work with people who eagerly, sincerely try to work with you. But people that try to undermine you, people that lie about you, people that criticize you for their own gain, true or not, why should you be nice to them?
The Democrats are used to the Republicans buckling under and caving to whatever. But Trump is not the usual Republican, nor is he a creature of the swamp. So he continues to win against these people.