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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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