Lindsey Graham Threatens to Falsify Accusations of Assault Against Democratic Supreme Court Nominees

“If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”

Michael Reynolds/ZUMA Press

A visibly irritated Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday voiced his doubts about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He also implied that her accusations have been falsified by Democrats to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination, and threatened future Democratic Supreme Court nominees they would be at risk for the same. 

“Let me tell you my Democratic friends,” Graham said, “if this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”

During a break in Ford’s testimony, Graham spoke to a gaggle of reporters in the Senate. In response to a question about whether he thought some of his Republican colleagues might vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court following Ford’s testimony, Graham said angrily that his colleagues should be highly skeptical of Ford’s accusations. He then warned Democrats that if Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, Republicans will create false accusations of sexual assault against Democrats’ future Supreme Court nominees. 

“To my Republican colleagues,” he said, “if you can ignore everything in this record, look 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.”

Minutes later, reporters tweeted about an interaction Graham had in a Senate elevator with a woman who told him she was a rape victim. Graham responded with a curt “I’m sorry” and told her to go to police. 

In recent days, Graham has repeatedly voiced doubts about Ford’s account. On Fox News on Sunday, he asked, “What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?” Graham added he thought Ford was being “used” as a political pawn. “This accusation is 36 years old. I don’t know when it happened or where it happened. And all the people who have been named say it didn’t happen.” 

Last week, he was also criticized for saying to a Washington Post reporter of Ford, who has a doctorate and is a college professor, “I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close.”

Listen: Jamilah King hosts a special breaking news edition of the Mother Jones Podcast, with Supreme Court reporter Stephanie Mencimer and Washington DC Bureau Chief David Corn. Everything you need to know about the historic Kavanaugh hearings—and what comes next.

We want to hear from you: How are you reacting to the hearing? We may publish a selection of your responses in a follow-up story.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.