South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said on Friday that Black Americans “can go anywhere in this state,” as long as they’re “not liberal.”
The ridiculous comments came during a forum event with his Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. Graham was answering a question about the recent wave of protests by the Black Lives Matter movement as well as increased talk of police reform and systemic racism in America.
“Do I believe our cops are systemically racist? No. Do I believe South Carolina is a racist state? No. Let me tell you why.” Graham explained “To young people out there, of color, to young immigrants, this is a great state, but one thing I can say without any doubt, you can be an African American and go to the Senate but you just have to share the values of our state.”
Graham said that Black Americans can only be successful in running for statewide office in South Carolina, if they are conservative. In his answer, Graham claimed that his opponent Jaime Harrison, a black man, will lose the election not because of his race but rather because of his political ideas.
Graham told the forum, “If you’re a young African American or an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal.”
The 65 year old senator brought up his colleague Tim Scott of South Carolina as an example as Scott is the only Black Republican in the Senate. Graham claimed in South Carolina “it isn’t about the color of your skin or where you came from, it’s about your ideas.”
Graham’s remarks took place during the “forum” that was originally supposed to be debate. The format was changed at the last minute because Graham refused Harrison’s call to be tested for COVID-19 before the face-off.