So what IS it with Lindsey Graham and Trump, huh?


It started with a shout-out, or perhaps I should say a taunt, from my old friend and colleague Mike Fitts:


I responded to Mike by saying, “I can’t. The toady tweet yesterday with the thumbs-up in the Oval Office was already more than I could take. I hope John McCain didn’t see it…”

That’s it above. The picture came from the Tweet in which Graham said… and I’m not making this up:

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

You’re keeping your promise to make America safer and more prosperous. And unfortunately for me, you’re doing all this without losing a step in your golf game!

I’ll pause for a moment while y’all go hurl after reading what Lindsey posted….

…OK; let’s resume…

Do you think “toady” was strong enough? Probably not…

Anyway, someone responded to my response thusly:

I responded that I’m not inclined to justify this behavior in any way, but I suspect that if he (Graham) were offering excuses, and being totally honest, he’d say he’d do anything to have some national security influence over this grossly clueless, unstable president…

That’s what Lindsey always cares about. He and McCain reached out to try to work with Obama after McCain lost the 2008 election, hoping to bring about policy continuity. And such continuity was maintained throughout the Obama years, even though, after a showy start right after the election, McCain and Graham seemed to have little hand in.

The tragedy here is that Graham is now abasing himself to a disgusting degree while foreign policy continuity — by which I mean the wise policies followed internationally by presidents of both parties ever since 1945, the maintenance of the global order America helped create and has led my entire life — is not only NOT achieved, but is ignored, blown apart, defecated upon by the ignoramus in the White House.

Our allies are slapped in the face, repeatedly and with increasing vehemence. And the worse the foreign strongman, the more passionately Trump embraces him.

So what is it that Lindsey Graham thinks he is achieving? He’s trading away his self-respect, and getting what, exactly? Does he think things would be worse if he weren’t playing golf with this guy and lavishing childishly transparent praise upon him?…

43 thoughts on “So what IS it with Lindsey Graham and Trump, huh?

  1. Richard

    It doesn’t matter who’s sitting in that chair, Lindsey is going to suck up to them. Hillary Clinton could be sitting there and you’d have Lindsey standing there with the same expression on his face. The only thing Lindsey loves more than being seen with the President is a television camera.

  2. Scout

    That is all pretty disgusting. But he did at least say that the President could stop the separation of the children with a phone call. He is not parroting the lie that this is all the Democrat’s fault.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s the thing. Lindsey KNOWS better, on immigration if nothing else.

      He continues to send out signals that he hasn’t totally lost his mind, in between sycophantic episodes such as that photo and Tweet.

      The Washington Post had a piece today looking at Trump’s GOP through two SC prisms: Graham and Mark Sanford. In the story, Graham notes the irony of the situation:

      “I’ve been attacked for not being ideologically pure. Right? The head of our party is the least ideological person in the history of the Republican Party,” Graham said in an interview….

      He went on to say:

      He acknowledged that “there’s a lot to criticize,” from Trump’s overall demeanor to foreign policy positions that cut against conservative orthodoxy.

      But, in his conversations with Trump, Graham said they discuss his public critiques of presidential decisions, as he also tries to steer Trump into a place of “how you fix it” rather than just “let’s burn it down.”

      “It’s important for every president, but particularly him, to see that the critic actually can help,” Graham said….

      “Ideology doesn’t drive this party like it used to,” explained Graham, who has a one-on-one meeting with Trump next week. “Can I say something? I think that’s a good thing, if we channel it to the middle.”…

      He seems to see himself as playing a deep, long game in this real-life Game of Thrones. Or maybe Frank Herbert’s Dune: “a feint within a feint within a feint…”

      But Sanford has no patience for it:

      “This is the Faustian bargain that’s going on right now: I’ll pander to you if you pander to me,” he said….

      The irony here is that in a way, it’s not ironic. Sanford was always the ideologue, and Graham the pragmatist.

      They still are, as you can see by those remarks…

    2. Claus2

      I heard the audio recording, I have heard kids crying the same way at the grocery store or in restaurants.

      I saw the pictures and videos, it’s now being reported that many of these were staged by photographers and film makers.

      From what I’ve been reading, the parents are separated from their children for a very short period of time (most less than a day). It’s not like they’re shipped off to orphanages until their 16 years old. This is no more traumatic to the kids than the first day of kindergarten.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I don’t consume news from “liberal” or “conservative” news sources. I just read news. Oh, and I don’t watch it, either, if I can help it. I read it…

            And while I don’t usually read McPaper, I read the story you linked to. Looks like a case in which the MSM is falling all over itself to correct something that a guy who USED to be a journalist and is now an activist (as near as I can tell from Wikipedia, which doesn’t make it clear what he does for a living now) sent out, and which he himself doesn’t seem to be defending.

            See, that’s what actual news media do. They do everything they can to set the record straight if someone, somewhere, puts out something that’s wrong…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              That’s why people who constantly claim the media are liars — when they themselves are deliberate liars who NEVER correct or back down from their lies — are about as low as you can get. And since there’s a whole lot of people out there gullible enough to believe them, they do great harm to America…

      1. Scout

        “From what I’ve been reading, the parents are separated from their children for a very short period of time (most less than a day). It’s not like they’re shipped off to orphanages until their 16 years old. This is no more traumatic to the kids than the first day of kindergarten.”

        Where are you reading this? Maybe you need to expand your sources. From what I’ve been reading and hearing from multiple sources, parents are sometimes deported still not knowing where their kids are. There is no system in place to track who goes where or to reunify families.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Nope, it’s under the plan of the guy who started this “zero-tolerance” thing of separating all these families at the border. You know, Donald John Trump, the guy who’s trying to leverage all this human misery to get a wall out of Congress.

              Surely you’ve heard of him…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Oh, and by the way… I know Trump supporters get confused about this, but no one named “Cinton” or “Obama” is currently president and therefore responsible for this outrageous new policy.

                So, you know, the whole “what about Clinton? what about Obama” shtick doesn’t make a lot of sense…

          1. Claus2

            “I don’t consume news from “liberal” or “conservative” news sources. ”

            Well so much for your credible source.

        1. Claus2

          What do you do with the children when the parents are caught illegally entering this country and sent to jail?

          If a person is arrested for any crime and sent to jail in this country, what becomes of their children?

          In both cases, the parent is going to jail… do you send the kids to jail with them? Is that how it’s done for every other criminal offense?

          Do we just refuse to enforce laws in this country from now on?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            How does ANY of that apply to people going up to U.S. officials and asking for asylum? Isn’t that kind of what we expect people in that situation to do?

      2. Scout

        “This is no more traumatic to the kids than the first day of kindergarten.”

        Actually that can be fairly traumatic for some kids.

        But want to know the huge difference between this and that?

        Kindergarten is a known quantity.

        Parents dropping off their kid for kindergarten KNOW what will happen and KNOW they will get their kid back at the end of the day. And they can explain it to the kid, who while still upset, can make it through the day KNOWING that they will see their parent again soon. And then it happens the way the parent explained it and the kid is comforted and trust is not lost in the parent or the world and the kid can use that experience to grow because they came through it alright with their parent’s help, who is still there making their world feel secure, and trust is not lost.

        These parents don’t know what is happening or what the plan is. They can’t reassure their children about what will happen because they don’t know. Maybe they reflexively try to reassure their child assuming this is temporary in the moment when they are separated. But then they are just gone for an indefinite period of time. And how will a child perceive suddenly not having access to their parent – most likely as abandonment and they may quite possibly think it is their fault somehow. Children do that. These are deep psychological scars.

        It is more traumatic than the first day of kindergarten.

  3. Karen Pearson

    After several incidents during the Obama administration he managed to convince me that he was not a statesman; he’s merely a politician, and not a very honest one.

    1. Barry

      I generally like alindaey but I have noticed when he thinks he’s being tough or getting a tough question he curses.

      “I don’t give a ——“ Is the latest example.

      It’s past time a host interviewing him says “ I don’t care if you give a —-.” I ask you a question and now you can give me an answer.”

  4. Phillip

    No surprise to me. There has always seemed to be something profoundly damaged about Graham, something motivating his behavior that comes from a place of negativity, sometimes anger, sometimes almost something deeply sad within him. Maybe it’s not all his fault, maybe the stress of trying to balance what convictions he may once have had with the desires of the ever-rightward-drifting SCGOP. He had to have been disappointed that Trump sought such rapid rapprochement with Kim Jung Un, but I sense he is mostly cozying up to Trump in hopes of an Iran regime-change war. Oddly enough it’s not a Democratic president, but a GOP one that seems to have driven him kind of off the rails entirely. “Making the world a better place”—about a guy who pulled out of the 177-nation-participant Paris Agreement—-was particularly tragi-comic.

  5. bud

    As Philip notes Lindsey’s passion is war. Everything else is subordinate to that goal. I suspect Lindsey is attempting to manipulate Trump to that end.

  6. Mr.Smith

    On the one hand, Graham thinks he can be a “Trump whisperer” – bending the president to his point-of-view. I think he’s deluding himself to think he can.

    More generally, he’s doing what he’s always done in the lead-up to the next election he faces: tack, tack, tack to the right. In 2016/17, the 2020 election was still far enough out that he felt he could criticize Trump and trumpism. But as that election draws closer, he shifts back to where he thinks SC voters are and will be. The tactic has never failed him up to now.

    [Why did I just have to click on pictures of street signs 12 times??]

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Sorry about that. Awhile back, I was forced to install a captcha plugin because there were too many bots on my blog. Or something. It’s been awhile, and I’m having trouble finding the post where I told everybody about it…

  7. Bart

    Conclusion – Lindsey Graham is who Lindsey Graham has always been. He hasn’t changed, he won’t change, and South Carolinians will continue to send him back to Washington when the election cycle comes around for Graham. Successful politicians understand the need to become a chameleon when it is time to campaign for re-election and then revert once the election is over and join the other creatures in the swamp because that is where they are comfortable and who they are.

    I agree with Mr. Smith’s opening comment and when Graham realizes he will not be able to change Trump, he won’t admit it unless Trump is so far down, a second term is basically impossible. Even then he must be careful to avoid upsetting Trump’s hardcore supporters in South Carolina. But with Trump, no one can be sure he will not be re-elected to serve a second term.

    1. Claus2

      So what you’re saying is Lindsey Graham will be re-elected because Strom Thurmond’s name won’t be on the ticket.

        1. Claus2

          Seriously? How long have you been in South Carolina, its been proven that if Strom Thurmond’s name is on a ballot people feel required to vote for him. How else do you explain him being in office for as long as he was… the last few years while living in Walter Reed or an Edgefield nursing home.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I didn’t get the connection to the Graham thing. I mean, of course Strom’s not on the ballot. He’s dead. Graham occupies his seat…

            1. Claus2

              And people in SC will vote for an incumbent until they read his obituary in the paper.

      1. Bart

        Well, since Strom Thurmond is dead and Fritz Hollins is retired and Scott is not going anywhere soon, the answer is YES. Need any further clarification?

      2. Scout

        I think that would depend on if anybody challenges him, and the case they make for themselves. Lindsey makes enough sense enough of the time, despite his obvious lapses above, that short of any decent challenger, than yes I would vote for him again.

        But nothing is a sure thing. There could be a decent challenge, especially in the current climate. An intelligent, reasonable, moderate who pointed out these ridiculous lapses could make some headway.

            1. Claus2

              That’s just because Graham has an “R” after his name and you only vote for people who have a “D” after their name. Straight party ticket speeds your voting time up.

              1. Richard

                Just throwing my voting policy out there, I don’t vote straight ticket… never have. But I have left several races blank if I don’t like who’s running. And I have voted for a Democrat if I “hate” the Republican candidate… I’ve even gone to vote, just to vote against Jake Knotts and others.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “I don’t vote straight ticket.”

                  Good for you. Voting a straight ticket is a complete abdication of responsibility.

                  And you SHOULD leave the race blank if you don’t have a clear preference. I do that all the time — although with me it’s not about not “liking” any of the choice. I vote all the time in races where I don’t like anybody — voting for the LEAST BAD candidate is just as important as backing someone you like.

                  Where I don’t vote is where I don’t feel I have enough information to decide. Which is usually a good thing, although not always.

                  For instance, the last time I voted in a Democratic primary was probably 2010, when I did so to vote for Vincent. There was a choice for the U.S. Senate nomination, and I had heard of one of the candidates — Vic Rawl. I hadn’t heard anything bad about him, so I thought for a second about voting for him. But no, my policy is NOT to vote on the basis of name recognition, and I just didn’t know enough about him, and I had never heard of his opponent.

                  Well, his opponent was Alvin Greene. And since most people don’t follow my rule of NOT voting for someone they know nothing about, he won…

              2. bud

                I didn’t vote in the GOP primary but would not have voted for Lindsey. Probably Nancy Mace.

  8. Claus2

    A question nobody is asking… what is the parent’s responsibility in all of this?

    The parents are the ones who made the decision to enter this country illegally and to drag their children with them. Did Trump force them to come to this country or to drag their kids with them? Aren’t we a country of laws? If they want to be US citizens, why don’t they go through the proper channels like everyone else? This country has room for immigrants, but only for those who come here legally. Illegally you’re an unwanted guest who’s overstayed his welcome… and it’s time you (and your family) to go home.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “A question nobody is asking…” No, unfortunately everybody who defends this administration’s indefensible policy asks that question.

      And of course it’s a pointless question. First, it makes no sense to imply people are being irresponsible for seeking asylum from a place where they see their children as being in danger.

      The question arises from complete ignorance of and lack of empathy for the situations in which these people find themselves.

      Second, what if the parents HAVE been irresponsible? Is that a reason to traumatize children? Of course not…

    2. Scout

      “A question nobody is asking… what is the parent’s responsibility in all of this?”

      Because it’s fairly obvious. The answer is to remove their children from the danger of being murdered, raped, or made to join a gang against their will.

      The legal way to do this is to go to an entry point and request asylum. Border patrol agents are turning people away when they attempt this. This could be considered a violation of US and International Law to not allow them to request asylum. They are not being told outright that they can’t request asylum but that they can’t right now. They are being made to wait weeks camped at the entry points.

      It is because they are not being processed at the entry points when attempt the legal way that many are entering illegally.

      So maybe the question nobody is asking should be…..If the problem is truly not enough resources at the entry points to process all the asylum seekers, why are more resources not being put there – why do we not have tent processing centers for asylum seekers at legal entry points to take up the slack, instead of tent shelters for separated children?

      Or does the administration want to push them to break the law?

      Another question – what is the responsibility of the administration when responding to someone that both enters illegally but also requests asylum? Should the illegal entry completely overshadow the asylum request? Do we still have an obligation to hear the asylum request?

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