During the third day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham attempted to make a joke and pondered about the “good old days of segregation.”
Graham made the comment in jest, but it hit with a resounding thud.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Barrett stated that the landmark desegregation Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, was a “super-precedent” beyond overruling while suggesting that, according to scholars, Roe v. Wade is not “because calls for its overruling have never ceased.”
Graham responded by stating, “One of the reasons you can say with confidence that you think Brown v. Board of Education is super-precedent is you’re not aware of any effort to go back to the good old days of segregation.”
Graham is running for reelection this year in a tight race against South Carolina Democrat Jamie Harrison. Harrison’s campaign has focused on racial inequality and ending poverty.
Graham was asked later in the day about his comment and he stated that it was made with “deep sarcasm.” He added that it “blows my mind” that his opponents could have taken it seriously.
“The point that I am trying to make there is nobody in America in the legislative arena wanting to take us back to that dark period in American history,” he said.
Graham went on to note that he represented a state where African Americans make up 31 percent of the population.
“I want to assure the people of South Carolina, that statement was made with dripping sarcasm.”
Harrison responded to Graham’s comments on Twitter, “@LindseyGrahamSC called segregation ‘the good old days. The good old days for who, Senator? It’s 2020, not 1920. Act like it.”
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” Harrison added in a subsequent tweet.
Graham says that Harrison’s attack was below the belt.
“This is not a game we’re playing here with the people of South Carolina.” There are plenty of differences between my opponent and myself,” Graham went on to call Harrison’s criticism “not worthy of the times in which we live” and “not worthy of an assault on me.”
Lindsey Graham has a history of saying things that he wishes he could take back as of late.
During a candidate forum in South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham stated that he did not believe that there was systematic racism in his state.
He went on to insist that young black people would be safe “as long as they’re conservative.”
Graham made the comment during a forum with his Democratic rival, Jaime Harrison. Harrison has Graham concerned as he has out-fundraised him and stayed a point or two behind or ahead throughout the tight race.
Harrison recently smashed a fundraising record by raising $57 million for his campaign.
Graham was asked what legislation he proposed to help end police brutality and he stated that he believed in law enforcement reform and that the killing of George Floyd “was wrong and people should pay the price,” he added that “what is happening in America… is a war on the police itself.”
“Do I believe that our cops are systemically racist? No. Do I believe that South Carolina is a racist state? No.,” he said. “To young people of color, to young immigrants, this is a great state. but one thing I can say without any doubt, you can be an African American and go to the Senate but you just have to share the values of our state.”
“I am asking every African-American out there, look at my record,” he said, referring to how he supported historically black colleges and universities. “I care about everybody, if you are a young African-American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.”
Graham’s remarks sparked a deluge of fury online.
Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell tweeted: “Is that the fever talking, or the steroids?”
Is that the fever talking, or the steroids? https://t.co/Y9t3fAMvV1— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) October 10, 2020
Charlie Sykes, editor ay The Bulwark, was even blunter, saying: “Lindsey, 1954 wants its talking point back.”