After the Senate met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on December 12, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said he had “no confidence” that Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy was up to the job of negotiating a border deal in exchange for Ukraine funding and urged President Biden to get involved in the talks directly, The Hill reported.
Graham told reporters following the meeting that as long as Senator Murphy is the lead negotiator for Senate Democrats in the talks, the Senate would never arrive at a deal that Republican senators would agree to.
He explained that he had no confidence that Murphy could secure a deal both sides would agree to since the Connecticut Democrat is “worried about selling it to the left.”
Graham suggested that the way to solve the problem would be to have the commander-in-chief directly involved in the talks, explaining that it is “his job above all others.”
Graham also blasted Murphy for framing the Republicans as “holding the border hostage,” arguing that Republicans are “trying to protect the American people.
Murphy, along with Republican Senator James Lankford and Independent Senator Krysten Sinema, has been leading the negotiations on securing a deal that would bolster security at the border in exchange for additional aid to Ukraine and Israel.
During the news conference following the meeting, Graham also said he told the Ukrainian president that he feared the Democrats were using him.
He said he told Zelensky that he had done “everything anybody can ask of you” and while Zelensky hadn’t created the problem in Washington, it would “affect you and affect the whole world.” At the same time, Graham told Zelensky that “policy choices matter.”
Graham explained that the Biden administration made the policy choices that led to a “nightmare on the border” and now those policy choices must change. He said he told Zelensky that his primary obligation was to secure the United States in addition to helping Ukraine.