MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle floated a theory during her show Tuesday morning, suggesting that Senator Lindsey Graham is somehow being blackmailed into backing President Donald Trump — but she never backed up the claim.
Jeremy Bash, David Jolly and Eddie S. Glaude Jr. joined the show to discuss the backlash Iowa Republican Steve King has received over the last week following comments he made about white nationalism. The conversation then veered to the president’s rhetoric — which the panelists said should also be condemned at times. (RELATED: Steve King Loses Committee Seats Over Remarks About ‘White Supremacy’)
Jolly began, “The Steve King issue is easy. The Republican who says what’s wrong with white supremacy. The harder one is confronting the President of the United States who refers to immigrant countries as s-hole countries. Who says Central Americans are invading us with crime and disease. Who takes a swipe at Native Americans. Who makes the Charlottesville comment. And who attacks NFL players for engaging in social justice advocacy. Where was Kevin McCarthy? Where was Mitt Romney? Nowhere to be heard.”
“Before Don got elected, Lindsey Graham called Donald Trump a racist, xenophobic bigot. That is Lindsey Graham’s words,” he continued. “I doubt Lindsey Graham could tell you Donald Trump’s had a change of heart in the last 24 months, I bet the change of heart has been with Lindsey Graham, not the president.”
“Or it could be that Donald Trump or somebody knows something pretty extreme about Lindsey Graham,” Ruhle added before the show went to commercial break.
Ruhle was not the only person to make such a claim without providing any evidence. Jon Cooper, chairman of the Democratic Coalition (a self-described grassroots organization dedicated to supporting “the Resistance”), tweeted a similar theory on Sunday.
A Republican just told me that he doubts @LindseyGrahamSC is kowtowing to Trump (and indirectly Putin) because he’s being blackmailed over his sexual orientation (an open secret) or even financial corruption. Rather, he thinks it probably involves some pretty serious sexual kink.
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) January 13, 2019
Graham has been one of the president’s biggest supporters. He stood firm in his support for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh amid allegations of decades-old sexual assault, but he also initially disagreed with the president’s decision to pull troops from Syria.