South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham joked privately several weeks ago that white men would benefit if he were president, a recording obtained by CNN reveals.
Graham, the Republican senator favored to win reelection next week, previously told the Weekly Standard this month that he “may just jump in” and run for president in 2016. He confirmed the recordings.
“I’m trying to help you with your tax status,” Graham is heard saying in the recording. “I’m sorry the government’s so f—ed up. If I get to be president, white men in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.”
The joke was made several weeks ago at a meeting of the Hibernian Society of Charleston, an Irish-Catholic charity group known for hosting politicians to give irreverent speeches, Graham confirmed to CNN, which was given the recordings from two separate state Democrats after an anonymous Gmail account sent it to them.
The remark, while said in jest, is reminiscent of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% remark, in which he argued – before a group of private donors and behind closed doors – that 47% of voters were dependent on government aid and therefore wouldn’t vote for him. Romney earned a public lashing in the media after video of the comment was made public. After losing the election, the Republican Party has worked to counteract the narrative that they’re the party of men, reaching out to women and minorities heavily in the 2014 election.