Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), listens during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee reviewing coronavirus response efforts on September 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images))

"I need some help": Graham touts Kavanaugh defense as he pleads for campaign donations on Fox News

"I dared to help President Trump — the unpardonable sin of a Republican," Graham told the hosts of the Fox program



Alex Wittenberg
September 25, 2020 9:30AM (UTC)

While he pleaded for campaign donations on "Fox & Friends," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., trumpeted his defense of Brett Kavanaugh during the Supreme Court justice's controversial 2018 confirmation hearings.

"I stood up for Kavanaugh at a time when they wanted to destroy his life, and I dared to help President Trump — the unpardonable sin of a Republican," Graham told the co-hosts of Trump's favorite morning show. "So the wrath of the left is coming down on me, but it's all of us — all of us are getting outraised."

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Graham, who has held his Senate seat since 2003, has been outraised and outspent by Democratic rival Jaime Harrison. During Thursday's Fox News appearance, the Republican incumbent admitted that he was "being killed financially" after donations supposedly flooded the Harris campaign in the wake of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death. 

"This money is because they hate my guts," Graham said. "I stood up for Kavanaugh."

Though Graham claimed that Harrison would raise about $100 million, it was not clear to what figures the senator was referring. Harrison had a record week prior to the death of Ginsburg, raising $2 million in the days after a poll showed him tied with Graham.

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The $28 million Harrison had raised as of his last federal filings in June was less than Graham's $29 million. But Graham claimed on Fox News that Harrison had raised $6 million since Ginsburg's death. 

"Act Blue raised $150 million right after the death of Justice Ginsburg within three days. My opponent raised $6 million. I'm being outspent four-to-one, outraised five-to-one," he continued. ". . . If you want to help me close the gap. I need some help."

Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, will play a central role in the confirmation hearings of Ginsburg's replacement on the bench. President Donald Trump has announced plans to reveal his nominee on Saturday afternoon. The process, Graham said on Fox, will "be the Super Bowl of politics."

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"They are going to try to destroy the nominee," he said. "The liberal media with the Democratic radical left tried to destroy Kavanaugh." 

Graham famously delivered an impassioned defense of Kavanaugh, who had been accused of sexual assault, during the 2018 confirmation hearings. The senator claimed that a "no" vote would legitimize "the most despicable thing that I have seen in my time in politics." 

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Now, the senator is setting himself up to defend Trump's nominee once again. Despite opposing former President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland 11 months ahead of the 2016 election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already announced that the upper chamber will vote on Trump's nominee to replace Ginsburg despite her "fervent wish" to "not be replaced until a new president is installed." 

"The double-standard is stunning," Graham said of Democrats on Fox News. "Look and see how this nominee will be treated compared to what liberal nominees  how they get treated with the kid gloves." 

Graham's South Carolina Senate race has tightened. Election forecaster Larry Sabato shifted Graham's seat from "likely Republican" to "leans Republican" at the beginning of the week. A Morning Consult poll released Tuesday found Graham and Harrison in a statistical tie, with Graham struggling to gain the same level of support from South Carolina Republicans enjoyed by Trump. 


Alex Wittenberg

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