Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday accused his Democratic opponent of “manufacturing” outrage over a comment Graham made about the “good old days of segregation.”
Graham claimed his comment was “dripping with sarcasm” — and dismissed Democrat Jaime Harrison’s criticism.
“[email protected] just called segregation ‘the good old days,’” Harrison had tweeted after Graham made the comment during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. “The good old days for who, Senator? It’s 2020, not 1920. Act like it.”
When questioned by a reporter during a recess, Graham balked at the idea that anyone who knows him wouldn’t realize he was being ironic.
“It was with deep sarcasm that I suggested that some legislative body would want to yearn for the good old days of segregationism,” Graham said emphatically. “The point that I’m trying to make, there’s nobody in America in the legislative arena wanting to take us back to that dark period in American history and for my opponent to suggest that says far more about him than me.”
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Graham had been asking Barrett about the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which outlawed school segregation.
“One of the reasons you can say with confidence that you think Brown v. the Board of Education is super-precedent is that you are not aware of any effort to go back to the good old days of segregation by a legislative body, is that correct?” he asked and she agreed.
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Graham said it “blows my mind” that anyone could think that about him and added the election was “not a game we’re playing with the people of South Carolina.
“Manufacturing the scenario that Lindsey Graham wants to go back to the days of segregation is not worthy of the times in which we live. It is not worthy of an assault on me,” the senator said.
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The back-and-forth came as several recent polls showed the three-term senator and Harrison in a tight race that the influential Cook Political Report has labeled a “toss-up.”