Lindsey Graham heads to Mar-a-Lago on a peace mission as Trump’s latest

According to a person familiar with his plans, Graham plans to spend his time on the golf course with Trump — ideally convincing the former president that regaining congressional majorities for Republicans will help bolster his own presidential legacy. This person said Graham wants to be “constructive,” urging Trump to use his influence for the party’s good.

Graham is the latest Republican to visit Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, met privately with Trump there on Tuesday, the day before Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell vowed never to do so.

A staunch ally of Trump’s, Graham has said in recent weeks he is concerned with how the feud between Trump and McConnell will affect Republicans’ chances in next year’s midterm elections.

“They’re now at each other’s throat,” Graham said on Fox News this week. “I’m more worried about 2022 than I’ve ever been. I don’t want to eat our own.”

Like McConnell, Graham has the next election at the top of his agenda. But while McConnell has made a conscious decision to ignore Trump and wants the party to move beyond the twice-impeached former president, Graham is trying to engage Trump to help the party’s chances.

“President Trump is the most consequential Republican in the party,” Graham said on Fox. “If Mitch McConnell doesn’t understand that, he’s missing a lot.”

Not every Republican agrees with Graham. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison, a former congressman, told CNN’s Erin Burnett Thursday that Graham is wrong to suggest Trump is essential to the party’s future success.

“Certainly he has a huge following in our party, but he cannot define us for the future,” Hutchison said. “We have to give outreach to the Trump supporters. They’re a huge part of our Republican base, and we have to identify with the issues they are concerned about. But it doesn’t have to be defined by one person.”

McConnell's plan to deal with Trump: Ignore him

Nevertheless, Trump remains the GOP figure whose words and actions reliably command the most attention. And in his lengthy Tuesday statement blasting McConnell, Trump included a veiled threat to support his own candidates in Republican primaries.

“Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again, and our policy of America First,” Trump said.

That possibility concerns many Republicans, especially those who fear the coming GOP primary season could rob them of any chance of winning back the Senate. The worry is that more extreme candidates, boosted by Trump, will win the primaries, but then prove unable to win in the general election against Democrats. This is of particular concern in swing states.

One troublesome example for these Republicans is Arizona Republican party chair Kelli Ward, a Trump favorite. But if she ran for Senate with a Trump endorsement, few think she could go on to beat Democrat Mark Kelly, who is finishing out the late John McCain’s term. To keep his seat, Kelly will have to run in 2022 for a full six-year term of his own.

And there is downright panic among national party leaders that, in Georgia, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will run against former Republican Sen. David Perdue for the Senate seat. The nomination of…

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