U.S. Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham speaks at the the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Forum in Des Moines, Ia., Sept. 19, 2015. 
Photo by Brian C. Frank/Reuters

Putting aside principles, Graham says, ‘I’m trying to get taxes cut’

In a rather dramatic speech on the Senate floor this week, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) declared, “There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such a time.”

The Arizona Republican, in remarks that were intended as a rebuke to Donald Trump, added that officials’ principles and obligations “are far more important than politics…. Acting on conscience and principle is the manner in which we express our moral selves and as such, loyalty to conscience and principle should supersede loyalty to any man or party.”

As Vanity Fair noted, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seemed sympathetic to his colleague’s concerns, but only to a point.

“I like him a lot,” Graham said on Wednesday when asked about Flake’s speech. “I think it’s a loss to the Senate. I share some of his concerns about what the president said, about the way he behaves. The election is over. I’m focused on results, and that’s why I’m here. I’d rather not be a constant critic. I’ll stand up when I need to, but I’m trying to get taxes cut.” […]

Graham, as you may recall, once described Trump as a “jackass” and an “idiot,” but now that they’re working together to deliver a gigantic tax cut to corporate America and the rich disguised as tax relief for the middle-class, he describes the president a little differently: “He’s a dealmaker, and he’s extremely flexible,” Graham told The Washington Post,

If you tried to sum up contemporary Republican politics in 14 words, “I’ll stand up when I need to, but I’m trying to get taxes cut” accomplishes the task quite nicely.

Peter Wehner, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, told the New York Times, “Lindsey Graham knows better. Deep in his heart, he must know that Donald Trump is fundamentally unfit to be president, and he has to pretend that Trump is. And when you engage in a game like that, there’s often a cost to it.”

At least for now, it’s a cost the South Carolina Republican is willing to pay. After all, he’s apparently convinced there are taxes that need cutting.