Sen. Lindsey Graham said he called Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week to offer his support as Sessions faces a barrage of public criticism from President Trump.
"I called Jeff yesterday morning when I saw the tweets and said,‘Jeff, I'm sorry, you just hang in there. A lot of us will have your back' and he really appreciated it," Graham, R-S.C., told Politico on Wednesday. "It was me calling him and I read him my statement. He said, ‘That meant a lot to me.'"
Graham's call to Sessions is representative of a larger campaign by Republican senators to stand up for the attorney general, a former colleague of theirs who represented Alabama in the upper chamber.
Several Republican senators have reportedly reached out directly to Sessions this week to encourage him to not resign as attorney general. Sessions has told senators that he does not plan to quit, despite Trump's relentless attacks against the attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
Graham's defense of Sessions has been especially intense. Earlier Wednesday, he told CNN that Trump's Twitter attacks on the attorney general show "weakness."
"The weakness is that the president is trying to not use his power, he is trying to get Sessions to quit. And I hope Sessions doesn't quit. If the president wants to fire him, fire him," Graham said.
Graham's efforts to defend Sessions are notable because the two hold different policy positions, especially on immigration. Sessions has imposed a strict immigration program with the Justice Department, and as senator, helped derail an effort in Congress aimed at providing a path to legal status for immigrants living in the country illegally.
Graham was part of the so-called Gang of Eight that authored the Senate's immigration reform bill.