Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina demanded that a reporter for a conservative media outlet be removed from a Sunday press event following a question about Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Newsmax Jerusalem correspondent Daniel Cohen asked Graham about a post on Twitter by Tlaib that falsely claimed Israel bombed a hospital during the press conference in Tel Aviv. An assessment by U.S. intelligence indicted that a rocket fired by Islamic Jihad was responsible for the damage and deaths caused by the blast, but the post remains active on the social media site. (RELATED: ‘Keep Bombing Hamas’: GOP Reps Respond To Disruptive Pro-Palestinian Protest At Capitol Office Building)
“I want to say thank you for being here. My family lives here, Cohen said. “I know many people were sent from the United States and there is international press from around the world. And I heard every single one of you voicing your support for Israel fervently, stridently, and I heard that. And I received that into my heart. And so on behalf of my family and people, I’m an American and an Israeli citizen, I say thank you. But it starts at home. And I’d like to ask any Democrat senator here that would like to speak to Rashida Tlaib. She still has a tweet up condemning Israel for a hospital attack .”
Graham cut Cohen off, and in a testy exchange accused Cohen of trying to “screw this up.” Cohen established the Jerusalem bureau for the conservative cable news outlet in October 2021, according to Newsmax. He previously served as a co-anchor for “Good Day LA” on KTTV Fox 11.
“Get this guy out of here. And let me tell you —” Graham said. “I live here. I’m an Israeli,” Cohen responded. “I want an answer to the question, please.”
Tlaib held an event in a Senate hearing room that called the founding of Israel a “catastrophe” in May after then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy blocked Tlaib from holding the event in the Capitol building and invoked apartheid when discussing Israel in 2021 and 2022 posts on Twitter.
“I came here with Democrats and Republicans to let everybody in the world know, don’t judge every Democrat by the ‘Squad’ and don’t judge every Republican by some of the things you hear,” Graham said. “For the House, they’ll get their act together. But we need to do our job. We need to do our job in the Senate. We need to pass a bill that will help Israel, help Ukraine. That’s at least what I think. I think the House will show up. And I’m sorry, my friend, I probably shouldn’t have said it, but my nerves are raw right now.”
“During the press conference, Senator Graham apologized to the reporter for his reaction, attributing it to ‘raw’ emotions surrounding the high stakes in the region,” a spokesperson for Graham told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Senator Graham had just come from meeting with families of the kidnapped, as well as viewing horrific and unbelievable photos and videos of the brutality of Hamas against innocent women and children.”
Newsmax criticized Graham for his response to Cohen.
“We were disappointed Senator Graham took such umbrage with Dan Cohen for asking a fair question about Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib false statements, given the Senator was there with Democrats who could share their perspective. Newsmax Vice President – News Chris Wallace told the DCNF. “It is an unusual moment when a Senator proclaims he’s for free speech but then demands a reporter be ejected from a press conference for asking a reasonable question.”
“Senator Susan Collins in her interview with Newsmax made clear that there should be no hesitation in condemning the barbarity of Hamas,” Wallace added.
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