Robert Graham, the former Arizona Republican Party Chairman, will be with President Donald Trump for the August 22 rally in Phoenix. Graham has been touted as a possible Republican primary challenger for Senator Jeff Flake, who is up for re-election in November 2018. Graham’s 14-year-old daughter Faith will be saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the rally.
Graham served as the GOP Chairman from January 2013 to January 2017. Prior to working in politics, Graham was a successful businessman. He also published his own anti-union book, Job Killers: The American Dream In Reverse. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Graham was a surrogate and senior advisor for Trump.
The 45-year-old Graham is married to Julia Graham, and they have six children, including a foster child. You can follow Graham on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know about Graham.
1. Graham’s Daughter Faith Spoke Against Hillary Clinton Before Trump’s October Phoenix Rally
Graham’s daughter Faith is too young to vote, but she became a powerful pro-Trump voice. Before Trump’s Phoenix rally in October, Faith delivered an anti-Hillary Clinton speech. She told the thousands at the Phoenix Convention Center that Clinton “intends to further change the fabric of the country we love.”
Faith also starred in a video criticizing the “Free The Delegates” movement before the Republican National Convention in July 2016.
“Free the Delegates? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with freeing America instead of taking away the voice of almost 14 million Republican voters?” Faith ways in the video. “I lost good friends that had to move because their family lost their homes and their jobs. It should make us all sad to watch so many people struggling to make ends meet.”
She also appeared as the “anchor” of “RKids TV” in an October 2016 video.
Graham told the Phoenix New Times that Trump sent him an email after seeing Faith’s speech. “He said, ‘Your daughter did great. The worst thing about my speech is that I had to go up after her,'” Graham said.
2. Graham Said Trump Told Him That He Plans on Putting $10 Million Into a PAC to Defeat Flake
In a July 2017 interview with NPR, Graham said that Trump told him and other Arizona surrogates that he will put $10 million of his own money into a Political Action Committee (PAC) to defeat Flake. When asked if he will run himself, Graham said it was not in the “immediate plans.”
“It’s been an interesting time to say the least,” Graham explained to NPR. “Senator Flake has – given his behavior during the general election and stiff opposition to the then candidate Donald J. Trump and then now being pretty open – openly against a lot of his agenda items, there is definitely a mood in our state and in the nation to find people that will align with the president’s agenda so we can really push forward to do what we can to make America great. And that’s – it sounds cliche. But at the same time, it is truly what the agenda and the vision that our president has.”
Graham’s NPR interview followed a Politico report that the White House was looking to take a more active role in replacing Flake. The site reported that Trump also spoke with Arizona state Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who is also considering a run. Kelli Ward, who ran an unsuccessful primary challenge against Senator John McCain in 2016, is already running.
CNN notes that Graham and DeWit are close, so only one of them would run to challenge Flake.
3. Graham Wrote a Book About How Labor Unions Are Hurting the American Economy
In 2010, Graham wrote the book Job Killers: The American Dream in Reverse. In the book, the Florida native theorized that labor unions were hurting the country’s ability to get out of the 2008 recession.
“Today’s unions’ attempts at relevancy are, at best, grasping at straws. There is a reason President Obama has backpedaled in his support of unions,” Graham told Business Wire. “Thanks to the Department of Labor and other taxpayer-funded organizations, 120 million American workers are protected under 180 different laws. We don’t need unions. Their actions over the past several decades have made it clear their intentions no longer protect workers.”
Graham claimed that there were “countless studies” by economists that show how labor unions have a “parasitic influence on the workforce.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Graham has a B.S. in Global Business Management and Finance from Arizona State University, where he graduated in 2003. Before he became the state GOP chairman, he earned a Masters from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
After working for Merrill Lynch, Graham founded RG Capital LLC and iNation LLC. He now serves as CEO of ROI Global Partners.
4. Graham Defended Trump After the ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape & Complained About Republicans Who Criticized Trump
In October 2016, when the infamous Access Hollywood tape leaked, with the future President Trump telling Billy Bush that he could grab women “by the pussy” because he is famous, several Republicans were critical of Trump, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Not Graham though. He said the comments in the video were indefensible, but was not happy with Republicans who stopped supporting Trump.
“We understand when the leftist media condemns Republican candidates with bias,” Graham said in a statement. “However, it is hard to understand why some are willing to surrender the principles and values we espouse as conservatives well-knowing that Hillary Clinton, if President, will systematically condemn our freedoms.”
“In the end, I will not condemn or abandon a man that has every right to forgiveness as I do. Nor will I give up on the people of this great nation. We must lead. It is my responsibility, as a member of the Republican National Committee, to elect our Republican nominees and defend our country against all enemies. Hillary Clinton is an enemy to our nation’s security, general welfare and blessings of liberty. I will continue to work with passion, integrity and restlessness to stop Hillary Clinton and elect Donald J. Trump.”
Graham even opened the statement with, “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
5. Graham Was Thought to Be a Contender for RNC Chairman, but the Role Went to Ronna Romney McDaniel
When it became obvious that Priebus would become Trump’s first Chief of Staff, Graham was thought to be a contender to be promoted to Republican Naitonal Committee Chairman.
Graham claimed he got a vetting call from Trump’s transition team.
“I believe Robert Graham would make a fantastic RNC chairman,” DeWit told the New Times. “He is a hard worker and a unifier, and has done a spectacular job of building up the state party. He has a level head and the ability to connect with everyone and is a very effective organizational manager. He is also a great ground-game guy, which is playing a bigger and bigger role in elections each cycle.”
Graham didn’t end up getting the job. Instead, the RNC chair went to Ronna Romney McDaniel, the niece of Mitt Romney and the former Michigan GOP chair.