By Sandra Kohn.
Lindsey Olin Graham is a 62 year old native of central South Carolina. Graham, a Republican, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2003 winning the seat of retiring Strom Thurmond. Graham had previously served a term as a representative in the South Carolina House (1993-1995) and the U.S. House of Representatives (1995-2003).
The following is a quote taken directly from Wikipedia regarding our senator:
“A retired U.S. Air Force colonel, Graham is known in the Senate for his advocacy of a strong national defense, his support of the military, and as an advocate of strong United States leadership in world affairs. He is also known for his willingness to be bipartisan and work with Democrats on many issues like campaign finance reform, line item veto, global warming, water boarding ban, immigration reform and his belief that judicial nominees should not be opposed solely on their philosophical positions. He is also a critic of the Tea Party movement, arguing for a more inclusive Republican Party.”
The irony of describing Lindsey Graham as a person willing to be bipartisan and interested in working with the opposing party on various issues is anything but funny.
Once upon a time, Graham portrayed himself as being an individual who could put party aside and could, for the good of his constituents and of the country, forego party ideology; but, in truth, it was a façade. He was just waiting for his opportunity to show his true self without fear of retribution.
Enter Donald Trump
Let’s go back to the 2016 Republican Primary when, along with Trump, there were 16 other candidates for the GOP presidential nomination; Lindsey Graham among them. It was during these primary debates, that Trump referred to Graham as follows:
“I think Lindsey Graham is a disgrace, and I think you have one of the worst representatives of any representative in the United States, and I don’t think he should run,” Trump said about the South Carolina senator at a campaign event in front of the lawmaker’s home-state crowd.
“I don’t think he could run for dog catcher in this state and win again. I really don’t. Other than that, I think he’s wonderful.”
In turn, Graham responded with: “The more you know about Donald Trump, the less likely you are to vote for him. The more you know about his business enterprises, the less successful he looks. The more you know about his political giving, the less Republican he looks.”
In another statement, Graham famously said “This is not about who we nominate anymore as Republicans as much as it’s who we are. This is a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” Graham said. “What is conservatism? If it’s Donald Trump carrying the conservative banner I think not only do we lose the election, but we’ll be unable in the future to grow the conservative cause.”
After it appeared certain that Donald Trump would become the Republican candidate for President in May 2016, Graham announced that he would not vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton, commenting: “I think Donald Trump is going to places where very few people have gone and I’m not going with him.” On November 8, 2016, Graham announced that he had voted for Evan McMullin.
And then they fell in love…
The public romance between Graham and Trump flourished in the fall of 2017 between golf games and Twitter compliments.
Initially, the brawl between Graham and Trump was more than political theater. For Graham, it was personal when Trump denigrated John McCain and his heroism in Vietnam. As we all know, Graham and McCain had a long standing friendship with McCain assigning pejoratives as terms of endearment referred t o Graham as “Little Jerk.”
Yet, while his best friend lie dying from brain cancer, Graham spent time golfing with Donald Trump. Graham began to spend more and more time lunching at the White House and developing his new found friendship with Trump.
A few days before McCain died, Graham went so far as to appear on Fox and Friends providing cover for Trump to potentially fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and for Trump’s love of Vladimir Putin. Putin, as it is well known, was hated by John McCain who called Putin “an evil man who is intent on evil deeds.”
On or near this time, Graham made the political decision to put his eggs in the Trump basket. He made the strategic decision to publicly flatter Trump while attempting to retain a modicum of independence.
Graham understood that all Trump really cared about is being celebrated. By genuflecting to Trump, Graham could seem to be in collaboration with him – the impression probably most important to the President – and thus beneficial to Graham.
Graham realized that to defy Trump would result in Trump’s petty wrath and subject him to disdain by South Carolina Republicans.
A clear example of Graham’s 180 degree turn is evidenced by this statement regarding Trump during the primaries: “I said he was a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot. I ran out of things to say. He won,” Graham said during an interview on ABC’s “The View.” “I don’t think he’s a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot — as president.”
Sometimes it just makes your head spin.
Perhaps nothing helps to better illustrate the about-face Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has taken in his relationship with President Donald Trump than a comment he made about the media’s portrayal of the president in a recent interview with CNN.
“What concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook not fit to be president,” he said. The comment went viral almost instantly. Why? Because Graham was at one time among those who labeled Trump a “kook” not fit for office. “I think he’s a kook,” Graham said in February 2016. “I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”
Certainly, much has changed. Perhaps. What has become absolutely apparent is what Lindsay Graham is all about. Self-preservation. Ego. Power. Not much else seems to matter.