Donald Trump escalates war with Lindsey Graham

Donald Trump
In this July 11 photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. AP Photo

Not one to shy away from name-calling, Donald Trump again showed Tuesday what happens when he’s on the receiving end of an insult from a rival. Appearing in the home state of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who recently labeled Trump “a jackass,” Trump claimed that Graham — whom he called a “lightweight” and a “stiff” — had once called him to ask for help secure appearances on FOX News.

Brandishing a piece of paper with a telephone number, Trump added: “So he gave me his number, and I found the card! I wrote the number down!”

“Let’s give it a try,” he suggested to the crowd, reading the number twice aloud to the audience. Trump acknowledged that the number was several years old and might no longer be in service but added “I don’t know, give it a shot.” A call to the number listed by Trump led to a voicemail recording indicating that Lindsey Graham is unavailable and that his voice mailbox is full. An aide to his campaign confirmed that the number was, in fact, the senator’s.

Lindsey Graham
In this March 12 photo, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo

In a statement, Graham campaign manager Christian Ferry said: “Donald Trump continues to show hourly that he is ill-prepared to be commander in chief. The two people most excited about Donald Trump’s candidacy are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Because of Trump’s bombastic and ridiculous campaign, we aren’t talking about Obama’s horrible deal with Iran or Hillary Clinton’s plans to continue Obama’s failed national security agenda.”

Graham also offered a tongue-in-cheek tweet:

Graham, who is also seeking the GOP nomination for president and has served as a senator from South Carolina since 2002, said on CNN Monday that Trump is “becoming a jackass at a time when we need to have a serious debate about the future of the party and the country.” Graham isn’t the only Republican contender who earned an insult from Trump in return for criticism. On Tuesday, Trump also derided former Texas governor and 2016 hopeful Rick Perry, who has likened Trump’s brand of politics to “a cancer.”

“He put on glasses so people will think he’s smart,” Trump said of Perry’s recent choice in eyewear. “It just doesn’t work.”

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