Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who recently began floating the idea of running for the presidency, was caught on tape joking about how well white men would do if he won, CNN reported.
“I’ve tried to help you with your tax status,” Graham can be heard saying. “I’m sorry the government’s so f—ed up. If I get to be president, white men in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.”
He can also be heard asking, “We got any Presbyterians here? We got any Baptists? They’re the ones that drink and don’t admit it.”
CNN said it obtained the audio from unidentified Democrats in South Carolina, who had received it from a person using an anonymous email address. The person who leaked the tape said Graham made the remarks at an “all-male club.”
Graham confirmed making the jokes during a meeting of a charitable group, the Hibernian Society of Charleston.
He said political figures there are encouraged “to be earthy, to make fun of yourself, to make fun of them. Then you say something serious and sit down. And if you talk over 20 minutes, they throw something at you.”
Graham said his joke about “male-only clubs” was a jab at the group’s membership policy, and his remark about Baptists is in line with regular jokes he makes before discussing religious freedom more seriously.
“I hope this doesn’t reflect poorly on the club,” Graham told CNN. “They are great guys.”
Earlier this month, Graham told the conservative Weekly Standard that he was considering running for the GOP’s presidential nomination.
“If I get through my general election, if nobody steps up in the presidential mix, if nobody’s out there talking — me and [Sen. John] McCain (R-AZ) have been talking,” Graham said. “I may just jump in to get to make these arguments.”
Shortly afterwards, Graham backed away from the remark in an interview with CNN.
“I know what it’s like to run for president. I’m running for Senate,” he said. “I know what it takes to put an organization together, to put the money together. I am nowhere near there. I’m all-in running for the Senate.”
Listen to Graham’s remarks, as posted by CNN, below.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the Order is not affiliated with other Hibernian groups.
Trump lawyer cites former GOP senator to discredit impeachment — but leaves out he supports convicting the president
During the Senate impeachment trial on Monday, White House lawyer Robert Ray attempted to contrast the impeachment of President Donald Trump with that of President Richard Nixon, by arguing that unlike in the former case, Republicans came together with Democrats to call for removing Nixon. As part of the comparison, he brought up then-Rep. William Cohen, who went on to become a U.S. senator from Maine and Secretary of Defense for President Bill Clinton.
"Together these six Republicans made history," said Ray. "They did so with no sense of triumph and no fist bumps."
What Ray chose not to mention, however, is that Cohen has specifically weighed in on the Trump case, and said that he should be impeached and removed over the Ukraine scheme.
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While the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump paused for a dinner break, CNN analysts responded to the White House's afternoon defense of the president was by blaming the Biden family.
Political commentator Gloria Borger noted that Trump lawyer, Eric Herschmann, going after former President Barack Obama just seemed desperate.
"Give me a break," she said. "What does that have to do with any of this right now? His defense boiled down to, 'He did it, so what? He did it. He was trying to root out corruption.' But if he was concerned about rooting out corruption, why haven't we seen more of that? His defense was, 'He had a reason to do it. It's OK. Therefore it was in the national interest.' This wasn't just about Joe Biden."
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On CNN Monday, chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin argued that the White House team's defense in the impeachment trial was disastrously bad.
"I thought Attorney General [Pam] Bondi did an effective job of showing how sleazy the hiring of Hunter Biden was," acknowledged Toobin. However, he added "her discussion, and Eric Herschmann's discussion, of the role of Joe Biden, vice president at the time, was a parade of lies. Just outrageously false in every fact, in every insinuation ... this idea that he engineered the fire firing of [Ukrainian prosecutor] Viktor Shokin to get his son in. Since Joe Biden is the one who is running for president, that seems to be enormously important."