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Lindsey Graham Ends Presidential Bid

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has suspended his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.
Andrew Harrer
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has suspended his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is ending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Graham tweeted the news, with a video of his announcement.

In an interview with CNN, Graham said, "I'm going to suspend my campaign. I'm not going to suspend my desire to help the country."

Graham, a close friend of 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, is one of the most prominent foreign policy hawks in the Senate. He has used his platform as a candidate to advocate for a more muscular U.S. military presence in the Middle East, frequently citing his dozens of trips to the region.

"The centerpiece of my campaign has been securing our nation. I have offered a detailed plan to win a war we cannot afford to lose and to turn back the tide of isolationism that has been rising in the Republican Party," Graham told supporters in an email on Monday.

Graham has also been one of the toughest critics of Donald Trump in the Republican presidential field.

Early in the race, Trump gave out Graham's cellphone number during a rally in South Carolina. Graham responded by calling Trump a "jackass." He then appeared in avideo smashing his cellphone. The video quickly went viral.

Given his low poll numbers, Graham never had the opportunity to face Trump in a debate. Never making the main stage in any of the Republican debates, Graham has appeared in the undercard matches — except for the fourth debate in November when he failed to make either stage.

Today is the deadline for a candidate to withdraw from the South Carolina primary and get their name removed from the ballot. Graham was potentially facing an embarrassing loss in his home state and now has the leverage of endorsing one of his fellow GOP candidates.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Arnie Seipel is the Deputy Washington Editor for NPR. He oversees daily news coverage of politics and the inner workings of the federal government. Prior to this role, he edited politics coverage for seven years, leading NPR's reporting on the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections. In between campaigns, Seipel edited coverage of Congress and the White House, and he coordinated coverage of major events including State of the Union addresses, Supreme Court confirmations and congressional hearings.