Lindsey Graham knocks his party's "irrational" birtherism: "There’s about 40 percent of the Republican primary voter who believes that Obama was born in Kenya!"

Obama Derangement Syndrome in the GOP is "visceral," Graham said to explain Donald Trump's popularity

By Sophia Tesfaye
December 12, 2015 2:13AM (UTC)
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FILE - In this June 3, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks in Manchester, N.H. It’s time for Republican presidential contenders to “Roast and Ride,” a new twist in Iowa’s down-home presidential politicking. A weekend gathering by freshman Sen. Joni Ernst features a pig roast, speeches from seven 2016 hopefuls and a motorcycle ride that promises to get at least a few of them on wheels. It’s a prime political event for Republicans in a state known for a straw poll that is declining in relevance and for an annual steak fry for Democrats that had its last hurrah last year. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File) (AP)

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday, Republican host Joe Scarborough shared a hilariously candid moment with guest and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

"Do we have a problem with our party," Scarborough asked the prominent neocon. "Is it nativist," he earnestly asked, after noting that Republican support for Donald Trump's ban on Muslims entering the United States stood at a whooping 65 percent.


Kristol argued that the polling was actually "misleading" because it gave "Trump too much credit," insisting that Republicans actually think the ban would only apply to Muslims like the San Bernardino shooters, not all Muslims. "I'm hoping to give our fellow Republicans the benefit of the doubt," Kristol told Scarborough.

"Here is the problem," Scarborough interjected. "After explaining [Trump's proposal], instead of 66 percent of Republicans supporting the proposal, only 65 percent did."

"Is that true," Kristol asked, throwing up his shoulders. "Yeah it is true," the host bluntly shot back.


"Yeah, there is a little bit of Obama Derangement Syndrome," Kristol begrudgingly admitted about his own party's laser-focused disdain for the president, before blaming Obama for Trump's rise. It "leads to an excessive reaction because there is so much political correctness," Kristol argued.

Now, it appears as though low polling presidential wannabe Lindsey Graham is joining Kristol and the slow-moving Republican awakening to the rabid nativism and Obama hatred that is at the center of the GOP base and is propelling Trump's rise.

"There’s just a dislike for President Obama that is visceral. It’s almost irrational,” the South Carolina Republican admitted on Friday, attempting to explain Trump's popularity during an interview on Boston Herald Radio. "There’s about 40% of the Republican primary voter who believes that Obama was born in Kenya and is a Muslim,” Graham noted, ignoring that Trump is, of course, the "birther-in-chief" (sorry, Mitt Romney).


As recently as July, Trump was still implying that Obama was not born in the United States. "I don’t know why he wouldn’t release his records,” he complained on CNN. Of course, Obama released his long-form birth certificate in April 2011 after years of hounding from the likes of Trump, who sent his crack team of investigators to Hawaii to dig through the president's birth records to no success.

Listen to both Kristol and Graham admit to the hatred that fuels the GOP base:


Lindsey Graham to Donald Trump: 'You're Gonna Go Out As A Loser'

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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