Trump hangs Lindsey Graham out to dry as South Carolina Senate race tightens: report

Trump hangs Lindsey Graham out to dry as South Carolina Senate race tightens: report
Photo via Gage Skidmore.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) may be on his own in the final days leading up to the election as the Daily Beast reports that President Donald Trump is unlikely to hold any campaign events to help rescue the embattled Republican senator as he fights for re-election.

In a likely a foreshadow of the days to come, Graham touted his relationship with President Donald Trump during a campaign rally Tuesday — even as the president was nowhere to be found.

"We got off to a rocky start. He beat me pretty badly," Graham told his crowd of supporters at a campaign rally in Greenville, South Carolina referencing his previous bid for the White House. But, now, Graham said, "we've got something in common; I like him and he likes me."

Vice President Mike Pence was the only White House official to appear on the Republican senator's behalf.

As one of the most vulnerable senators up for re-election while Republicans desperately fight to retain control of his seat, it would seem like a no-brainer for Trump to go the extra mile to show his support for Graham. However, that is not the case in this election. So why hasn't Trump come to Graham's rescue?

Since Trump, himself, is also facing an uphill re-election battle, the president and his campaign team likely believe there are many other places he could be, rather than spending time campaigning in a historically red state that has not turned blue since 1976. Daily Beast reporters Sam Brodey and Hunter Woodall also echoed a similar stance.

"Trump himself has not visited South Carolina to support his erstwhile ally, and likely will not before the Nov. 3 election, when Graham faces Democrat Jaime Harrison," they reported. "A former chair of the state's Democratic Party, Harrison entered the race a long shot but has turned the Senate contest into a toss-up race, after raising a record $100 million sum for his campaign from a national liberal base that detests Graham."

In fact, not only has the president appeared to abandon Graham, he did not even so much as tweet his support of the politically endangered senator.

Another reason for Trump's ambivalence toward his South Carolina frenemy may be the president's stance on "suckers" and "losers." Over the last few weeks, Graham has used his public appearances to complain about Harrison's ability to outraise him. In fact, Graham himself admitted that he is concerned about Harrison's massive windfall and he has even been trolled by the Lincoln Project after he called for an investigation into Harrison's small-dollar campaign donations through Act Blue.

It is no secret Trump has a deep level of disdain for what he describes as whining politicians. On multiple occasions, the president criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) as he insisted the governor was "whining" for simply asking the federal government to do its part to help provide ventilators during a deadly pandemic.

However, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford offered a different perspective. He believes Graham may not want to get tangled in a presidential visit and all that comes with it.

"I think if anything, he's probably wanting to be quiet on the Trump front, though he's obviously been a fan, in hopes that he picks up some measure of support from suburban or working women that have been lost or some of the young millennials that have been lost," Sanford said.

Despite the suggestion, Sanford also declined to confirm whether or not he would be supporting Graham when he casts his ballot. As of Tuesday, October 27, the Five Thirty Eight poll suggests Graham and Harrison are tied which is likely an alarm bell for the Republican senator with just six days until the election.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.