Graham — who had to self-quarantine after he was exposed to the infection during a visit to Trump’s Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago — initially downplayed the new coronavirus, inaccurately comparing it, as Trump did, to the flu in a March 3 interview with Carolina Connection, a South Carolina TV station.
Days later, however, Graham tried a new tack, lauding Trump as a “wartime president” on the president’s favorite morning show, “Fox & Friends.” Graham also blamed the media for overhyping the threat and covering the pandemic like “a series of plane crashes,” while himself comparing the pandemic to the September 11 attacks.
“The impeachment debacle has been replaced by the spirit of 9/11,” he said. “I think America is under attack. It’s under attack by a virus that can be destroyed if we stay away from each other.”
On April 7, Graham told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that he would consider Trump’s performance a success if COVID-19 deaths stayed under the 50,000 mark.
“So, have we acted decisively? If we could hold the death rate below 50,000, God willing — every death is terrible —but I would say we’ve acted decisively,'” he said.
As of April 7, the U.S. had reported about 10,000 pandemic deaths.
Graham, in an April 9 appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, told the host it was time to “get the United States Senate on the record” in officially pinning blame on China for the public health and economic devastation that the pandemic had wrought.
“We don’t blame Trump, we blame China,” Graham said, echoing almost verbatim the GOP talking points circulated in a memo to all Republican senators, advising them on how to distance themselves from the president.
But Graham once again upped his metric of success, from 50,000 to anywhere under 100,000.
“The president in my view has avoided 2.2 million Americans from dying because he rejected the herd theory, let it run through the society, we’ll build up immunity. Thank God he rejected that. Under the best scenario we are looking at 100,000 to 240,000 deaths,” he told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “I think we are going to beat that.'”
About ten days later, the death toll cleared the 50,000 metric Graham had established earlier that month.
Then in May, the South Carolina Republican emphasized again that the historic economic crash did not reflect Trump’s failures, but Trump’s noble prioritization of human lives. The staunch abortion opponent coyly attributed this to what he called Trump’s “pro-life” stance in a May 5 appearance on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.”
“Look, 70,000 people [have] died with us locking the whole world down, so the president put life — he is pro-life in the real sense of the word — he put life ahead of his economic success. The economy came to a grinding halt — not because of anything bad about the economy — to save lives. Now we’re trying to balance how to turn it on,” said Graham. “I think he’s done a really good job.'”
Two days later, Graham told reporters during a visit to a chemical plant in his home state that reopening the economy would be “the only answer that’s sustainable,” even though it would likely only lead to a spike in cases.
By late May, however, as states began reopening in earnest, Graham was forced once again to raise his high-water mark — this time from 100,000 to 130,000 deaths, per Politico.
Around that time, the actual death count also surpassed the 100,000 mark, which Graham grieved as a “sad milestone” in a Facebook post.
“Our nation has been hit hard by the coronavirus and today we passed a sad milestone of 100,000 deaths. I’m convinced that if we had not engaged in aggressive mitigation practices the number would be much greater. The sacrifices we made as a nation has saved lives [sic],” he wrote.
“More than 120,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, yet Lindsey Graham continues to spin and distract from his failure to hold the federal government accountable for bungling its response,” said Zach Hudson, spokesperson for American Bridge, a PAC that supports Democratic candidates and causes. “Lindsey Graham is more concerned about booking his next television appearance than helping his constituents suffering from this pandemic,”
As of Wednesday, the U.S. has reported at least 128,000 deaths attributed to the coronavirus, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. The country appears poised to pass the 130,000 mark by week’s end.
As states rushed to reopen — a political move cheered by both Trump and Graham — the Sun Belt has experienced a massive surge in infections. On Wednesday, the U.S. daily case count topped the 50,000 mark for the first time.
Speaking to lawmakers Tuesday, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, predicted that if the country doesn’t make significant corrections quickly, we can expect to see 100,000 new infections a day.
“I will guarantee you that, because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country — even though in other parts of the country they’re doing well — they are vulnerable,” said Fauci.
“I made that point very clearly last week at a press conference. We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk,” he said.
Eric Trump deletes fake image of Ice Cube and 50 Cent wearing Trump 2020 hats after humiliation on Twitter
Eric Trump faced backlash on Tuesday after he shared a manipulated photo that appeared to show rappers Ice Cube and 50 Cent wearing Trump hats.
President Donald Trump's son shared the image on Twitter. Soon after, the social media network flagged the tweet for using "manipulated media."
Several hours later, the tweet appeared to be deleted.
Going broke? Here’s how the Trump campaign plowed through $1 billion in cash
President Donald Trump's re-election campaign's fundraising efforts have surpassed $1 billion since 2017 but now, the vast majority of that money is gone as speculation rises about the true financial state of Trump's campaign.
Over the last several months, Trump has made several high-dollar political advertising decisions that have cost his campaign greatly. From the staggering $10 million-dollar Super Bowl ad during the primary while several Democratic presidential candidates were still in the race to using his campaign funds to cover the cost of excessive legal fees for his impeachment and war on mail-in voting, Trump has shelled out exorbitant amounts of money.
Biden lays low, again, ahead of Trump debate
Democrat Joe Biden hunkered down Tuesday for the second straight day instead of campaigning two weeks before the US election, as he likely prepares for his final debate with President Donald Trump this week.
The campaign called a "lid" for in-person events -- meaning a candidate has no more planned appearances for the day -- at 9:30am (13:30 GMT), although there was still potential for the former vice president to conduct local interviews.
The 77-year-old also was off the campaign trail Monday, only leaving his Delaware home to conduct a television interview.
Biden, who has a robust advantage in national polls against Trump but narrower leads in swing states like Florida, held two events in battleground North Carolina on Sunday. But he stayed home in Wilmington on Saturday.