Lindsey Graham is the worst. He’s said some really racist things, including “joking” about segregation. He doesn’t care about women’s rights and has voted against the Violence Against Women Act multiple times. He’s worked to restrict reproductive health and rights at every turn and has said that’s why he became a senator. He’s opposed LGBTQ+ rights and merely “tolerates” marriage equality as the law of the land. He refused to be tested for COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus, putting others at risk. And he’s spent his political career going back on his own statements and actions when it’s convenient. Here are just three of the issues that illustrate Graham’s wild inconsistency.
Back when Trump was first running for office, Graham was pretty critical of him. During the election cycle, Graham said, “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office,” and called Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,” who did not represent the Republican Party.
But once Trump was elected, Graham quickly changed his tune. He’s spent the past four years as Trump’s golfing buddy and confidante, pushing his agenda in the Senate, including spearheading the confirmation of accused rapist Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. He’s also defended Trump in the media against claims of racism and from “endless attempts to label the guy some sort of kook, not fit to be president.”
If those accusations are familiar, it’s because they’re the exact same things Graham himself said, but seems to have conveniently forgotten.
Supreme Court vacancies
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham has been leading the charge to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, despite the precedent that he had a hand in setting four years ago. In 2016, when Republicans in the Senate were refusing to hold hearings on Obama’s SCOTUS nominee in the last year of his presidency, Lindsey Graham said, “I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, ‘Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.'”
Yet, here we are, less than a month away from Election Day, when millions have already voted early, and Graham has insisted on pushing through Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. He’s prioritizing the confirmation over the COVID relief that Americans desperately need and despite the fact that two Republican members of the Judiciary Committee have tested positive for COVID. It seems like the only difference this time around is that the nominee is, by Graham’s own words, “unashamedly pro-life.”
So-called commitment to “life”
Graham has staked his political career on being “pro-life.” He has proudly voted to defund Planned Parenthood, supported Trump’s Global Gag Rule, and introduced multiple bills to restrict access to abortion in the name of “protecting unborn children.”
But it seems that Graham is less interested in protecting life when it comes to Black and brown lives. He had nothing to say when news broke about migrant women undergoing forced and nonconsensual hysterectomies in an ICE detention center. He doesn’t care about children being torn from their families at the border, and he has introduced legislation that would extend detention of migrant children from 20 to 100 days, in what we know to be unsafe, traumatic conditions. He’s made it clear that Black lives don’t matter to him, and has had the gall to say, “If you’re a young African American or an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.” So, their lives matter, but only if they share his political beliefs. That’s not just asinine, it’s flat-out racist.
Graham is also pretty against increasing access to health care for a proponent of “life.” He’s promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act if Trump is re-elected, which would take health care coverage from over 20 million people in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Graham has also continued to support and praise Trump, even as he’s failed to adequately respond to the pandemic, causing the deaths of over 222,000 Americans.
Graham has demonstrated over and over again that once outside the womb, lives don’t really matter to him. That’s no surprise, because as we know, restricting access to abortion isn’t so much about being “pro-life” as it is about being anti-choice and denying people autonomy over their bodies.
Lindsey Graham has no principles—he just does and says whatever is politically expedient. South Carolina deserves better.
That’s why we’re working to elect Jaime Harrison—a candidate that South Carolinians can trust to #Fight4HER in the Senate. But the race is close, and Jaime needs your help! Join us to Get Out The Vote for Jaime in these last two weeks. Sign up to phone bank on Thursday, 10/22, or Thursday, 10/29, at 5pm ET, and let’s kick Lindsey Graham out of office!