“If you kill Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you,” Republican senator Lindsey Graham said in remarks skewering his party’s presidential field at the Washington press club foundation dinner on Thursday night.
The Texas senator, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, is extremely unpopular among his congressional colleagues.
The dinner is convened by news organizations with a footprint in Washington and features stabs at comedy by elected officials. It is not to be confused with the White House correspondents’ association dinner, which in recent years has become celebrity-filled and at which the president typically speaks.
The Republican party has gone “batshit crazy”, Graham told the crowd, referring to the presidential race.
And he noted that he himself had dropped out of this year’s presidential race and promptly endorsed former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who subsequently dropped out. Graham put on a white “Make America Great Again” hat and said: “I endorse Donald Trump and hope the Graham magic still exists!”
In reference to Cruz’s birth in Canada and the false belief held by about 10% of self-identified conservatives that Barack Obama was born in Africa, he added: “I will say that our Canadian is better than your Kenyan.”
He continued: “I know exactly when Ted is going to drop out of the race. March 12 – that’s Canadian week in Myrtle Beach, when all of our Canadian friends get 10% off.”
Myrtle Beach is a popular resort and tourist destination in South Carolina, Graham’s home state, and the city is hosting a Canadian-American Days festival beginning March 12.
Graham had some zingers for Florida senator Marco Rubio, too, whom Graham called “the boy wonder”. Rubio is 44, a year younger than Cruz.
“I’m not saying he would change his positions, but he would change his positions,” Graham said, in reference perhaps to Rubio’s calibration on immigration reform.
“The Secret Service’s main job if he’s president is to keep him hydrated,” Graham said, in reference for sure to the time Rubio had to sneak a drink of water during his response to a state of the union address.
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Lindsey Graham jokes about killing Ted Cruz at Washington Press Club dinner,