Lindsey Graham Halts His Bid for Presidency
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina suspended his presidential campaign, saying he had concluded that “this is not my time,” while arguing that his mix of hawkishness on foreign policy and pragmatism on immigration and the economy had made a difference in the race.
The withdrawal came on Monday, the last day that Mr. Graham could remove his name from the South Carolina primary ballot, sparing him possible embarrassment in his home state given his paltry standing in the polls.
“The centerpiece of my campaign has been securing our nation,” Mr. Graham said in a YouTube video announcing his decision, The New York Times reported.
He called the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), “a war we cannot afford to lose,” and he repeated his call to “turn back the tide of isolationism that has been rising in the Republican Party.”
“Four months ago at the very first debate, I said that any candidate who did not understand that we need more troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIL was not ready to be commander in chief,” he said. “At the time, no one stepped forward to join me. Today, most of my fellow candidates have come to recognize this is what’s needed to secure our homeland.”
He started his campaign with a festive rally in his hometown, Central, S.C., and often recalled growing up above a pool hall and helping to raise his sister.
Despite being barred from the main stage in the Republican debates, Mr. Graham, 60, earned praise by using lighthearted wisecracks to leaven his dire pronouncements about the threat of terrorism. He could frequently be found campaigning with Senator John McCain, his close friend and political ally, in New Hampshire, where Mr. McCain, winner of the primaries there in 2000 and 2008, remains popular.
Mr. Graham, a former Air Force lawyer with decades of experience in government, was one of Mr. Trump’s earliest targets, and became a cautionary tale for how aggressively Mr. Trump would counterpunch at his opponents.
After Mr. Graham criticized Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump responded by reading the senator’s cellphone number out loud at a crowded campaign rally in South Carolina. Mr. Graham was quickly forced to change his number.