Fury as Lindsey Graham says young black people can go anywhere, but only if they’re conservative
Lindsey Graham will take part in the US Senate debate in South Carolina with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison on October 3, 2020. (AP)
Lindsey Graham sparked a social media storm Friday night when he said that young blacks and immigrants in South Carolina "can go anywhere," but added, "You just have to be conservative, not liberal."
The outrage spread over Twitter, calling for donations to be made to Graham's Democratic opponent in the state's Senate race, Jaime Harrison, a black man.
As of Saturday morning, a video clip of the Republican senator making the comment has been viewed 3 million times.
There were shocked reactions and allegations of white supremacy and racism to the stunning comments.
Charlie Sykes, editor-in-chief at The Bulwark, wrote: "Lindsey, 1954 wants his talking points back."
The comment was part of a lengthy response to a question from Carolyn Murray of NBC subsidiary WCDB: "How are you going to tackle rioting in South Carolina?"
It is believed that Graham tried to argue that race was not a barrier to success in the state, citing former Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott, both Republicans.
The incident took place on a television forum originally intended as a debate between the two candidates. Instead, both candidates were interviewed separately for 30 minutes each.
The format was changed after Graham refused to be tested for Covid-19 at Mr Harrison's request.
After California Congressman Eric Swalwell saw the clip of Graham's comments on the race, he said, "Is the fever talking or the steroids?"
There is speculation that Graham is concerned that a positive outcome would delay the scheduled hearings for confirmation by the Supreme Court of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
After their nomination was announced, more than a dozen participants tested positive for the virus.
Senator Graham suggested that Mr. Harrison seek "special treatment" to get out of the debate and said he would "follow the orders of my doctors, not my political opponent".
Graham found himself in an unexpectedly tough re-election campaign in traditionally deep red South Carolina. He and Harrison are tied at 48 percent, according to the latest poll.
The Senator has appeared twice on Fox News and, after a spike in donations to the Democratic candidate following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and Graham's U-turn, has asked for donations to be brought to court in an election year.
The two met a week earlier in a televised debate in which Mr Harrison Graham pounded on his Senator file and hypocrisy regarding judicial nominations.
The format of the debate changes after Lindsey Graham rejected the Covid-19 test.
Lindsey Graham and Jaime Harrison in dead heat in South Carolina
Lindsey Graham likened an opponent to cheating on a child in the debate
Democrats protect candidates from Lindsey Graham with plexiglass wall
GOP Senator Lindsey Graham again asks for money live on Fox News
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