For weeks, respected Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has been acting so buffoonishly and villainously out of character, it’s led many to ask if he’s being blackmailed into protecting Donald Trump. Now it turns out Graham is suddenly at the center of Trump’s Haiti scandal, as he was in the room when Trump called the country a “shithole.” After other people who were in the meeting publicly contradicted each other today, Graham has finally spoken up.
The controversy began when a still-unnamed person who attended the meeting told the media about Trump’s racist remark. The White House initially refused to deny that Trump said it, but this morning Trump claimed on Twitter that he didn’t say it. That prompted Senator Dick Durbin, the only Democrat in the meeting, to go before the cameras and confirm that Trump did indeed say it. Then two racist Republican Senators who were in the meeting, Tom Cotton and David Perdue, released a carefully worded statement claiming that they didn’t specifically recall Trump having said it. That’s when things got interesting.
Republican Senator Tim Scott then told the media that Lindsey Graham had privately told him that Trump did indeed make the remark. This came after Durbin had told the media that Graham had immediately pushed back against Trump to his face about the remark. Finally, on Friday afternoon, Graham released a lengthy statement about the incident, saying “Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday.” (link) He then went on to spell out his own longtime pro-immigrant stance.
It sounds like Lindsey Graham is confirming the Trump “shithole” remark, while also confirming Durbin’s assertion that he pushed back against it. But it’s still notable that Graham, who never met a television camera he didn’t like, decided to simply put out a statement online instead of speaking to reporters about the matter, as Durbin did. Even as Graham has finally come out against Trump on the Haiti scandal, we still deserve answers as to whether he’s being blackmailed about Trump’s Russia scandal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report