Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) confirmed Monday that he will be running for president, though he said he would officially announce his decision about whether to run on June 1, Politico reports.
Speaking on CBS’s “This Morning” a day after saying he would provide a "very important update" on his plans, Graham left little doubt about his intentions by saying, “I’m running.”
“I’m running because of what you see on television; I’m running because I think the world is falling apart; I’ve been more right than wrong on foreign policy,” he said.
“It’s not the fault of others, or their lack of this or that that makes me want to run; it’s my ability in my own mind to be a good commander in chief and to make Washington work,” added Graham.
Graham, who is one of the Senate’s leading national security hawks, would be a long shot in the crowded Republican presidential field but could be influential in pressuring the other contenders on foreign policy issues, noted Politico.
In recent weeks, the chances of his running, according to Graham, have gone from 91 percent to “98.6 percent” to 99.9 percent. He has also staffed up his exploratory committee.
“You’re all invited to come, spend money when you do, and I will tell you what I’m going to do about running for president,” he said about the June 1 event to take place in his hometown of Central, South Carolina.
Graham was also asked whether he would have gone into Iraq if he had known of the intelligence failures that are widely known now. It’s a question that has tripped up several other 2016 contenders, including Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
“Going into Iraq, if I’d known … then what I know now, would I have launched a ground invasion? Probably not,” he said, adding that if he knew the “intelligence was faulty,” he would have “reconfigured” his approach to taking on Saddam Hussein, who “needed to go.”
“But at the end of the day, he is gone,” Graham said. “And I’m worried about an attack on our homeland.”
Once he officially announces a presidential run, Graham will be joining Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul who have already announced their intention to run for the GOP nomination. Bush has yet to formally announce he is running.
Graham, who has visited Israel numerous times, most recently in late December, has expressed his support for the Jewish state.
In January, speaking with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Graham assured Israel that Congress has its back on issues such as a deal with Iran and peace with the Palestinian Authority.
"I just want the Israeli people to know that Congress does have your back. I am by no means anti-Palestinian. I am pro-Israel and I want to help the Palestinian people with their legitimate ambitions," clarified Graham.