During a televised campaign event, US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that African Americans and immigrants can “go anywhere” in her home state, but they ” just need to be conservative ”.
Graham made the comment during a televised “conversation” with his political rival, former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison, the first African American to hold the post.
He made the remark in the context of political careers and said Harrison would lose because he was a Democrat, not because he was black.
“Do I believe our cops are systemically racist?” No. Do I believe South Carolina is a racist state? No, let me tell you why. To young people, young people of color, young immigrants, this is a great state, but one thing I can say without a doubt, you can be an African American and go to the Senate, but you just have to share our values. ”
He went on to say, “If you’re a young, African American, or immigrant you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.”
The comment was in response to a question about civil unrest, and as America reckons with its long history of racism and continued police brutality, including national revulsion after the murder of black man George Floyd by a white policeman of Minneapolis.
South Carolina was a Confederate state during the Civil War and then institutionalized racism during the Jim Crow era, imposing second-class status on African Americans.
Graham, a longtime senator, is tied with Harrison in a very competitive race.
The conversation was originally intended as a debate, but was changed at the last moment because Graham refused to take a Covid-19 test, despite a major outbreak at Trump’s White House that infected two of Graham’s Republican Senate colleagues .
This speculation and Graham’s remarks – which sparked a deluge of fury online – prompted Democratic MP Eric Swalwell tweeter: “Is it the fever talking or the steroids?” “
Charlie Sykes, editor-in-chief of Bulwark, was even more brutal, saying: “Lindsey, 1954 wants to find her argument.”