Lindsey Graham Says Black People 'Can Go Anywhere' In His State If They're 'Conservative'
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, facing stiff competition from Democratic contender Jamie Harrison, said Friday night that blacks "can go anywhere in this state" provided they are "conservative, not liberal."
The remarks came during Graham's discussion of police reform and anti-racism protests that have swept the country.
At Friday's event, Graham pointed to his support for conservative police reform proposed by Senator Tim Scott - the other South Carolina Senator, the black man, arguing that his opponent was not interested in bipartisan solutions. He avoided asking if he had met with Black Lives Matter leaders by saying he had met with "pastors and people in the African American community."
"And here are the facts," said Graham. “Do I think our cops are systemically racist? Do I think South Carolina is a racist state? No."
Graham then claimed that blacks can only “go to the Senate” if they “share the values of our state,” referring to Scott, who was elected in 2013. Graham predicted that Harrison "not because of race but because he was aligned" would get lost with the most liberal people in the country. "
"I ask every African American out there to look at my file," Graham went on, referring to his past bipartisan support for historically black colleges and universities.
“I care about everyone. If you are a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state. You just have to be conservative and not liberal. "
Despite his claims, South Carolina is not an entirely Conservative state - as evidenced by the fact that Harrison is on par with the sitting Senator in recent polls.
Graham spoke at an event where both candidates answered questions from moderators separately. The unusual format replaced a more traditional debate that was canceled the day before because Graham refused to do a coronavirus test that Harrison's campaign requested.
As the race continues to get unexpectedly close, Graham's refusal to reveal his health has been speculated, especially as numerous other senior Republicans have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past few days.
Democrats are calling for a delay in the Supreme Court hearing due to the coronavirus outbreak
Republicans are fighting to defend Mitch McConnell's Senate majority
Progressive group targets Alaska, Kansas, South Carolina in New Push
South Carolina Senate debate canceled after Lindsey Graham refuses to take the COVID-19 test
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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