Lindsey Graham says black people ‘can go anywhere’ in South Carolina, if they are ‘not liberal’

Instead of a debate on Friday, Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Jaime Harrison answered questions from a panel of moderators.

In a candidate’s forum on Friday night, Graham declared, “If you’re a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state [South Carolina], you just need to be conservative, not liberal”. Following this statement, numerous people on social media showed outrage and condemned the Senator’s words. Furthermore, Graham’s claim was part of his response to the moderator’s question: “How will you address civil unrest in South Carolina?” In his response, he discussed his views on South Carolina, racism, and the state’s conservative values:

Do I believe our cops are systemically racist? No. Do I believe that South Carolina is a racist state? No. Let me tell you why. To young people out there, of color, to young immigrants, this is a great state. The one thing I can say without any doubt, you can be an African American and go to the senate, you just have to share the values of our state. Tim Scott is in the senate, he’s the only African American Republican in the country. Nikki Haley is a daughter of Indian immigrants raised in Denmark, South Carolina; she became a governor in South Carolina. Folks, its not about the color of your skin or where you came from, it’s about your ideas.

In addition to this, Graham noted that he will win the race because of his conservative ideas:

The reason I’m going to win this race is because my ideas, my conservative philosophy, my willingness to reach across the aisle, fits our state. I’m in line with Tim Scott and Nikki Haley. My opponent is going to lose, not because of race, but because he’s aligned with the most liberal people in the country. 

Furthermore, before he made the claim that outraged numerous people, he asked African Americans to check his record:

31% of our state is African American. I’m asking to every African American out there, look at my record. I’ve been supporting historically black colleges and universities and I’m glad President Trump has made it a permanent fixture now, we don’t have to beg every year for the money. I care about everybody. If you’re a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal. 

These words have been labeled as racist and are expected to have a severe impact on the race. 

A video of Graham making this claim has gone viral and has left people shocked and outraged. While numerous people online are asking for the Senator’s full response so that they can assess whether the claim was racist, putting Graham’s statement into context does not make it much different. Twitter users have shown their condemnation as they wrote:

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