South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, has made unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, echoing the false allegations of President Donald Trump. Graham even took to Fox News Radio on Nov. 9, 2020, to argue that the election was “far from over,” despite Biden clinching the necessary 270 electoral votes on Nov. 7, 2020, after winning Pennsylvania, according to The State.
Graham, who serves as the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, donated $500,000 to Trump’s legal disputes in battleground states where President-elect Joe Biden came out victorious, as he announced on Facebook. (Graham has a decent net worth, so he could probably spare the change.) “Let’s Stand with President Trump. He stood for us,” wrote about the donation. As of this writing, Graham — along with many other Republican senators —has yet to acknowledge Biden as president-elect.
Although Graham’s stance about the election results seems pretty clear, an interaction he had with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Nov. 17, 2020, on the Senate floor seemingly contradicts things. Join us as we dissect the curious moment below.
Lindsey Graham gave Kamala Harris a fist bump
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham crossed paths on the Senate floor with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Nov. 17, 2020, and in a surprising gesture of camaraderie, Graham fist-bumped Harris. The friendly greeting was all the more unexpected since Graham has been siding with President Donald Trump’s inaccurate claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
A senior congressional correspondent for CNN, Manu Raju, took to Twitter to describe the surprisingly warm reaction Harris got from many of the “Grand Old Party” (aka Republicans) who ran into Harris. “An interesting scene on the Senate floor when several GOP senators congratulated Kamala Harris (most Rs still siding with Trump in his fight over election),” Raju wrote on Twitter. “Sens. Tim Scott, Mike Rounds, James Lankford all congratulated her, as did Ben Sasse. Lindsey Graham gave her a fist bump.” Republican Sen. James Lankford also joked with Harris about her newly-vacant Senate seat, and Raju mentioned that in a tweet, too. “‘How is the food fight behind you in California?’ Lankford said to Harris, an apparent reference to the effort to fill her Senate seat,” Raju explained.
So was the fist bump Graham’s subtle way of acknowledging Harris’ victory? Here’s what Graham had to say about the gesture.
Lindsey Graham downplayed the interaction
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham explained the meaning behind his fist bump to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during a conversation with CNN’s congressional correspondent Manu Raju, who jumped on Twitter to share what was said. “Asked about his fist bump to Kamala Harris, Sen. Lindsey Graham told me this: ‘Just saying hello – I haven’t [seen her in awhile.] If it works out and they make it, I told her I wish her well and try to work where we can. We will know here in a month or so or less.'”
Raju also noted Sen.James Lankford’s joke about the food fight and explained what Lankford said. “On why he would bring that up as Rs like him haven’t acknowledged Biden won, Lankford said he was being polite. ‘The election is not settled… So if you are trying to catch it and spin it however you want to – if someone walks right up to you, you say, ‘hello, congratulations,'” Raju wrote on Twitter. However, not everyone is buying the senators’ responses. Some on Twitter think that Republican senators are putting on a show for Trump, while others are downright confused. One person tweeted, “This makes zero sense. If you don’t believe someone has won, why would you congratulate them for winning?”
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the only noteworthy moment involving Graham and Harris, as the senator from South Carolina once defended Harris before.
Lindsey Graham stood up for Kamala Harris
Sen. Lindsey Graham has spoken out about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris before, defending her during a May 2020 interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt. “I know her,” he said about Harris’ potential as VP. “I didn’t like what she did in [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh by any stretch of the imagination. But she’s hard-nosed. She’s smart. She’s tough.”
After now President-elect Joe Biden announced Harris as his vice presidential pick, President Donald Trump questioned Harris’ status as a U.S. citizen and therefore, her right to serve as vice president. Graham jumped on Twitter on Aug. 14, 2020, to deny the allegation, saying that Harris was, indeed, American. “There are plenty of issues to find disagreement with @KamalaHarris regarding her record as Senator or as a Vice Presidential nominee,” Graham tweeted. “She is consistently rated one of the most liberal members of the U.S. Senate, fully embracing a radical Democratic agenda.” He added, “However, there is no issue as to whether or not she is an American citizen. She was born in the United States in 1964 to parents who were legally present. Under the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent, she is unequivocally an American citizen.”
Although it’s obvious Graham doesn’t align with Harris politically, it’s clear he won’t let baseless claims against her slide.
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