Sen. Lindsey Graham says Black people are free to 'go anywhere' in South Carolina so long as they're conservative

Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Speaks during the Senate Justice Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (Greg Nash / Pool via AP)
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said during a candidate forum Friday that black Americans are safe in the state as long as they are conservative.
"If you're a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state. You just have to be conservative, not liberal," Graham said.
The Republican senator also said he believed in some elements of police reform, such as mandatory use of body cameras and de-escalation training, but sympathized with police officers.
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Senator Lindsey Graham said Friday night that young people of color are safe in South Carolina - but only if they are not liberal.
"I care about everyone," said Graham, speaking at a forum for South Carolina Senate candidates. "If you're a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state. You just have to be conservative, not liberal."
Graham is fighting to keep his Senate seat against Jaime Harrison, a former black lawmaker who spoke on the forum shortly before him. Polls show that Graham and Harris are each associated with 48% support, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted the last week of September.
At the forum, Graham spoke of his support for South Carolina police officers but said that the police murder of George Floyd in May "was wrong and people should pay the price". Floyd's death and other incidents of police brutality have sparked widespread calls for police reform.
"Do I think our cops are systemically racist? No. Do I think South Carolina is a racist state? No," Graham said at the event. "For young people of color, for young immigrants, this is a great state. The only thing I can say without a doubt is that you can be African American and go to the Senate. You just have to share the values ​​of our state."
Graham then pointed out South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, "the only African-American Republican in the country," he said. Graham also named "Daughter of Indian Americans" Nikki Haley, who is the former governor of South Carolina.
"South Carolina folks, it's not about the color of your skin or where you're from, it's about your ideas," Graham continued.
His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Graham, who was specifically asked about the police reform, said he supported various initiatives such as the requirement for body cameras and de-escalation training to better hold police officers accountable.
"But you have no idea what it is like to be a cop now," Graham continued. "I've spoken to cops all over this state. You feel abandoned. You feel like the bad guy. I'm not going to be part of this movement. I'm not going to empower what I think is one." Attack on law and order. You will be reformed with me. But I won't leave the cops. With me I will assert myself against the mobs. "
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