DES MOINES — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham sounded a 2020 rallying cry for Iowa Republicans, calling on them to re-elect President Donald Trump and reclaim the House to defend the country against an onslaught of Democrats seeking to install socialist policies.
“It’s going to be a hell of a ride in 2020,” Graham told 550 Iowans at the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Lincoln-Reagan fundraising dinner Friday evening.
“We’re fighting uphill. A lot of things are stacked against President Trump, but he’ll break through,” said Graham, 64, the keynote speaker and one of three U.S. senators to rally the crowd.
“We’re going to have four more years,” he predicted. “We’re going to kick their ass, and we’re not going to give our country over to a bunch of socialists.”
Graham, who went from a 2016 adversary to a vocal Trump supporter, dismissed Democrats’ claims of a quid pro quo in the president’s dealings with Ukraine officials.
He predicted the impeachment process underway in Washington “is going to blow up in their face” because Americans are focused on economic issues rather than partisan bickering and Trump is delivering on his promises to build a strong military, appoint conservative judges, cut taxes and shrink the size and regulatory reach of government.
In delivering a speech peppered with homespun humor and biting commentary, Graham said Washington seems intent on bringing an impeachment proceeding every 20 years “whether we need it or not.”
He accused Democrats of trying to destroy Trump’s presidency, telling Iowa Republicans “this is a war, and it’s a war worth fighting.”
State party chairman Jeff Kaufmann said the impeachment has been such a “sham” that it’s energizing and unifying the GOP base in Iowa.
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Graham, who has been in the Senate since 2003 and serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opened his remarks by telling the crowd “the theme tonight is socialism sucks, eat more pork and drink more ethanol.”
He said Democrats’ obsession with Trump has driven him into the president’s camp, where he found common ground with Trump.
“I like him, and he likes him,” Graham said.
Graham told Iowans to vote for Trump because Trump represented the “most stable choice” in 2020. Everything a conservative believes, “Donald Trump has hit it out of the park,” Graham said.
By contrast, he said, Democrats are offering Medicare for All, which really is Medicare for nobody because they would take away workplace health policies and give free health care to illegal immigrants.
Democrats, he said, would turn illegal immigration into “a parking ticket” and eliminate enforcement efforts in favor of an open border policy.
“This is just crazy stuff,” he told a radio audience before his fundraiser appearance. “Iowa is the front line of freedom here, folks. If Trump wins Iowa, we’re in good shape. If Trump loses Iowa, we’re in terrible shape, and their agenda is turn the country into a socialist nation. America is worth fighting for.”
GRAHAM ENDORSES ASHLEY HINSON FOR CONGRESS
Earlier Friday, Graham headlined a private fundraiser for state Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion, who is running for the GOP nomination in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District where first-term Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer is seeking re-election.
Graham endorsed Hinson, calling her “a dynamic conservative leader, a serious legislator and a proven winner.”