DES MOINES, Iowa -- US Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told Republicans at an annual Iowa GOP fundraiser Friday that the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives is a "joke."
Graham, who is considered to be one of President Donald Trump's top defenders, was a keynote speaker at the Iowa GOP's Lincoln-Reagan dinner, along with colleagues Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.
The South Carolina senator joked about his "rocky start" with the president, as he sharply criticized the then-candidate Donald Trump in 2015, but he was serious in his defense of Trump now.
Riley Swanson, a student and co-president of Drake University's Republican group, said Graham's switch from critic to champion of Trump does not bother her.
"I think a lot of people may have been skeptical of Trump," she said. "But seeing how Graham progressed and became a supporter of Donald Trump is honestly encouraging."
With the impeachment hearings expected to go public next week, Graham wanted to let the audience know what he thinks Republicans are really up against.
"The Democrats have been trying to destroy his presidency," he said. "This effort by the House is just partisan revenge, sour grape, sore loser because people can’t accept the fact they lost."
Graham has said in the past that Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president was a "nothing burger," and he reiterated to Republicans in a joking fashion that they have no reason to worry about the call.
"The president told me 'I didn't do no quid pro quo. I don't even speak Latin," he said.
Overall, the crowd was receptive of what Graham had to say about the impeachment inquiry. Although the senator has called it "nonsense," some Republicans say they will wait to see the process play out.
"The president has his points that there may not be anything wrong with what he's doing, but a lot of that needs to be dug into," Swanson said.