By Don Kohn
What must it be like to be a Republican in Congress these days and have to accept, even endorse, the racist rants of President Donald Trump?
For Sen. Lindsay Graham, no problem. That’s where he sees his advantage, both politically in Washington, and here in South Carolina where he is seeking reelection and where he believes stalwart, unwavering support of Trump is critical to his reelection.
For most Republicans, such as Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), it took a couple of days before they could work up enough gumption to even suggest that Trump’s Twitter tirades against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) three other Democratic congresswomen of color. Scott said the remarks were “racially offensive.”
Trump reprised the tried and true racist trope, “If you don’t like it here, go back to where you came from,” and then over the next few days doubled down saying they hate America. Despite worldwide condemnation, Trump made clear his purpose: “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump said. “And all I’m saying — they want to leave, they can leave.”
Of course, it doesn’t concern him. He launched his attack specifically to feed the racist emotions of his supporters to whom he continually tosses red meat. That’s important because otherwise they might be concerned about some of the things he’s doing that actually hurts them, like trying to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as proposed in his 2020 budget.
But what about Senator Graham? What did he have to say?
“Well, we all know that (Ocasio-Cortez) and this crowd are a bunch of communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own country,” Graham said on “Fox and Friends.
“They’re calling the guards along our border, the border patrol agents, ‘concentration camp guards.’ They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins. They’re anti-Semitic. They’re anti-America.”
Graham went on to say the President should “aim higher” than the personalities of the congresswomen and should focus on their policies.
“You don’t need to – they are American citizens. They won an election. Take on their policies,” he said. Well, at least he acknowledged that, which is more than Trump did.
Graham added that if the group of lawmakers are made “the face of the future” of their party, “You will destroy the Democratic Party.”
Really? We will see about that.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said later House Democrats would defend “our sisters,” and as the Democratic-controlled House passed a non-binding resolution condemning Trump’s comments, she declared:
“There is no place anywhere for the president’s words, which are not only divisive, but dangerous — and have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “It’s so sad because you would think that there would be a given that we would universally, in this body, just say, ‘Of course. Of course.'”
Pelosi continued: “There’s no excuse for any response to those words but a swift and strong unified condemnation. Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values, and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people. I urge a unanimous vote, and yield back the balance of my time.”
When it came time to vote, however, only four Republicans – Representatives Will Hurd of Texas, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Susan W. Brooks of Indiana – broke with their party to vote against Trump. They were joined by Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a Trump critic who recently left the Republican Party to become an independent.
Meanwhile, Graham’s comments supporting Trump were practically word-for-word those uttered by the president, even to the point of attempting to dragging in Israel into a controversy that has nothing to do with that.
The fact is that multiple eyewitness reports have laid bare the horrible conditions at those holding facilities, those cages that human beings are herded into like cattle and then treated even worse.
And what did Graham say about that?
“I don’t care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days,” he said.
That’s our senator.
It’s Time to Take a Stand.