Graham has tough talk for GOP

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a Jan. 21 news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. In no-holds-barred remarks Thursday, the South Carolina senator and unsuccessful presidential candidate said the GOP has lost all semblance of sanity. He predicted irrevocable losses in November if the GOP backs Trump.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Republican electorate’s growing love affair with Donald Trump means “My party has gone bat**** crazy.”

Speaking in the role of a co-host to a gathering of journalists and other politicos Thursday night, a hoarse-voiced Graham went off on the rise of Trump and the likely election of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“The most dishonest person in America is a woman, who’s about to become president. How could that be? My party has gone bat**** crazy,” Graham said.

Graham was the final speaker at the Washington Press Club Foundation Dinner in Washington, where he brought down the house with a series of one-liners and scathing indictments of the GOP.

He began by saying he wanted to stand on top of the box that had been used to elevate his shorter female colleagues who preceded him in speaking order.

“I want to be like Trump,” Graham said. “Yuuuuge!” mocking his New York bravado.

By the end of his speech, Graham had grown deadly serious, and almost looked on the verge of tears as he told a rapt audience he wished there was more civility in politics and in public discourse.

He bemoaned the dysfunction of Congress in a world undergoing “dangerous times” and voters’ embrace of Trump. Plus, there is the chance other Republicans will be brought down if Trump gets in, something he lamented.

“Our country and our party is going to have to up its game,” Graham said. Turning to reporters, he said, “You’re going to have to ask (Trump) harder questions, and I don’t mean to turn a funny thing into a serious thing.”

But he had one last laugh.

“I ran for president and I had to get out,” Graham said. “I endorsed Jeb Bush, and he had to get out. I am the Dr. Kevorkian of the Republican primary.”

He then proceeded to put on Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.

“I endorse Donald Trump,” he proclaimed, “and hope the Graham magic still exists.”

Trump wasn’t the only politico hit in the annual dinner that attracted more than 750 Washington insiders.

On Ted Cruz’s unpopularity with colleagues on Capitol Hill, Graham suggested, “if you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”

And he threw in some local humor, too: “I know exactly when Ted’s is gong to drop out of the race. March 12. That’s Canadian Week at Myrtle Beach when all of our Canadian friends get 10 percent off.”