During Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony this morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said almost nothing. Like every other member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was given five minutes to question the professor, but like every Republican on the panel, the South Carolinian gave his time to prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.
But after the hearing recessed, Graham had quite a bit to say.
“If this becomes the new standard, where you have an accusation for weeks, you drop it right before the hearing, you withhold from the committee the chance to do this in a professional, timely fashion, when they publicly say their goal is to delay the vote, get the Senate back in 2018, to make sure [Donald Trump] can’t fill the seat – they publicly say that – I don’t want to reward that kind of behavior.
“I think we’ve been very fair. And to my Republican colleagues, if you can ignore everything in this record, looing at an allegation that’s 35 years old, that’s uncertain in time, place, date, and no corroboration, if that’s enough for you, God help us all as Republicans, because this happens to us, it never happens to them.
“Let me tell my Democratic friends, if this becomes the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”
As angry tirades go, this one was curious. For one thing, the idea that this “never happens to” Democrats is belied by recent events. Graham’s former Judiciary Committee colleague, former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), faced years-old allegations of sexual misconduct, too. After Democrats learned of the claims from multiple accusers, they abandoned the Minnesota senator quite quickly, and he was forced to resign.
For another, I’m not aware of any Senate Democrats arguing “publicly” that they hope to take back the Senate in order to block any and all presidential Supreme Court nominees from being confirmed. (Several Senate Republicans said this in 2016 about a prospective Clinton presidency, however.)
But it was the “you better watch out” warning to Democrats that stood out as jarring.
I’d love to hear about more about exactly what Graham is warning.