Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina spoke with The Atlantic editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, during The Atlantic Festival in Washington DC on Wednesday. Graham's remarks drew boos from the crowd and confusion from Goldberg.
At one point The Atlantic editor stated, "I don't even know what that means."
The topic of conversation? President Donald Trump's repeated public attacks against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Dr. Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding allegations of sexual assault by Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In his defense of Trump, Graham repeatedly brought up Bill Clinton and events from 1998—without explanation—which confused the crowd. His first statement was to paraphrase a James Carville comment from 1998.
However, without any explanation, the crowd assumed he was speaking of Dr. Ford. Goldberg informed the crowd Graham had misquoted Carville. Graham continued to deflect to 1998 and Clinton, rather than address Trump in 2018.
Finally, Goldberg asked if he meant Trump could have said worse so people should be grateful. Forcing Graham to address the present, the Senator claimed he did not like the President's mocking of Ford, but then tried to excuse the behavior by stating the President acted out of frustration over the treatment of his SCOTUS nominee.
In addition to deflecting the conversation to events from 20 years ago and making excuses for Trump's behavior, Graham also drew boos when he stated everything the President said about Ford was factual.
Watch Graham's comments here.
Graham's behavior onstage earned him no fans, except maybe the one person he may have been playing to: President Trump. Throughout the confirmation process, people accused Graham of auditioning for the Attorney General position in the Trump administration.
It turns out Lindsey is a titanic fraud. A fraud of Pence-ian dimensions. A small man lacking integrity and princip… https://t.co/cEiutnoSFL— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1538543862.0
His ludicrous affectation and faux outrage at the hearings was a moment of beclownment that knows no equal. He is a… https://t.co/GYnLUv24wr— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1538543863.0
I think Lindsey Graham's outbursts today are about interviewing for the job of Trump's next attorney general.— Dan Rather (@Dan Rather) 1538084055.0
"I will say literally anything to get this Attorney General job." -- @LindseyGrahamSC https://t.co/8vV4GJRT6P— Stephen J. Cloobeck (@Stephen J. Cloobeck) 1538581845.0
Lindsey Graham just completed his interview for Attorney General.— Tea Pain (@Tea Pain) 1538081721.0
Was Lindsey Graham promised attorney general or something? #KavanaughHearings— Zerlina Maxwell (@Zerlina Maxwell) 1538081399.0
@NBCNews Hey @LindseyGrahamSC. Did @realDonaldTrump offer you AG for after he fires Sessions or something?— Scott Young (@Scott Young) 1538581304.0
Others took exception to Graham's remarks at The Atlantic Festival.
Other Republicans denounced Trump's attacks against Ford, while Graham couched his in references to Clinton and excuses for the President.
Additionally: Graham asked about Trump mocking her, defends Kavanaugh. Multiple other Senators, including Collins,… https://t.co/QHhoRSuHzz— John Iadarola (@John Iadarola) 1538583062.0
@johniadarola .@LindseyGrahamSC is a disgusting excuse for a human being. He’s also a bully, a hypocrite, a liar AN… https://t.co/77SxRJ1CCf— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@Jon Cooper 🇺🇸) 1538584231.0
@TrumpinTheShark @johniadarola When you defend what Trump said yesterday with this unrelated 20-year-old quotes, yo… https://t.co/OMUBEjPQww— felinecannonball (@felinecannonball) 1538583093.0
@johniadarola @TheDemCoalition This situation looks more like @GOP @LindseyGraham @ChuckGrassley went thru trailer pk.+ACCEPTED$100 BILLS!— Michele Snyder (@Michele Snyder) 1538583912.0
@BigEasy5 @NBCNews My thoughts too, and emails and photos. This man is scared.— su-v (@su-v) 1538581507.0
@NBCNews Really wish Trump would send out Lindsey's personal phone number again.— Independent Voter (@Independent Voter) 1538581054.0
@NBCNews From victim-blaming to victim-shaming in under a week.— #Resist Trumpism (@#Resist Trumpism) 1538581631.0
@NBCNews Once again the #GoodOleBoy #republican are unable to even be respectful to women when tossed a softball opportunity.— Marcus Allyn (@Marcus Allyn) 1538581222.0
@NBCNews I was just liking @LindseyGrahamSC less and less every day, but now I’m beginning to despise him. Did he… https://t.co/CobpAN24C0— Brooklyn Stoop (@Brooklyn Stoop) 1538581386.0
@NBCNews In other words, lie is now truth. The demise of morality in America will be televised.— Uche Nwakudu (@Uche Nwakudu) 1538581221.0
@NBCNews Lindsey Graham has gone completely off the deep end and needs urgent medical help. Who is spiking his drin… https://t.co/yl3T61dZFn— Angelika Sabine (@Angelika Sabine) 1538581924.0
@NBCNews Graham has changed the meaning of rock bottom— Maryam Sherbaf (@Maryam Sherbaf) 1538581387.0
The date for the full Senate vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court has not yet been set.