trump lindsey graham
© Saul Loeb / Contributor/Getty Images
President Donald Trump and South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham during a Keep America Great campaign rally for US President Donald Trump at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 28, 2020.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday said the Republican Party can't "move forward" without former President Trump.

Graham made the remarks in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. The comment comes as Republicans seek to remove their third-ranking House member, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), from her leadership post amid her continue criticisms of the former president.

"I would just say to my Republican colleagues, can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no," Graham said.

"I've always liked Liz Cheney, but she's made a determination that the Republican Party can't grow with President Trump. I've determined we can't grow without him."


Graham added that the GOP is making inroads with minorities due to Trump's "economic populism" and "America First agenda."

"If you don't get that, you're making the biggest mistake in the history of the Republican Party," Graham said.

The comments come as the GOP grapples with Trump's role in the party going forward.

Graham, a longtime ally of Trump, previously told Axios on HBO [March 7, 2021] that Trump could either make the GOP "bigger" and "stronger" or that he could "destroy it."


"He could make it bigger. He could make it stronger. He could make it more diverse," Graham said at the time. "And he also could destroy it."

Trump's grip on the party is being demonstrated by House Republicans' second attempt to remove Cheney from her leadership post, which seems more likely to succeed the second time around.

Cheney has come under fire from fellow Republicans in recent months for her criticisms of Trump, which included her vote to impeach him for inciting the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. Her likely successor as chair of the Houser Republican Conference, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), is a staunch Trump supporter.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post on Wednesday, Cheney said the party should move way from "the Trump cult of personality."