Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham
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Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Olin Graham (born July 9, 1955) is an American politician and retired U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel serving as the senior United States Senator

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Lindsey Graham United States Senator
from South Carolina Incumbent Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Serving with Tim ScottPreceded by Strom ThurmondMember of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 3rd district In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003Preceded by Butler DerrickSucceeded by Gresham BarrettMember of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 2nd district In office
January 12, 1993 – January 3, 1995Preceded by Lowell RossSucceeded by William Sandifer Personal detailsBorn Lindsey Olin Graham
(1955-07-09) July 9, 1955 (age 63)
Central, South Carolina, U.S.Political party RepublicanEducation University of South Carolina (BA, JD)Website Senate websiteMilitary serviceAllegiance  United StatesService/branch  United States Air ForceYears of service 1982–1988 (Active)
1989–1995 (Air National Guard)
1995–2015 (Reserve)Rank ColonelUnit U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps

Lindsey Olin Graham (born July 9, 1955) is an American politician and retired U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel serving as the senior United States Senator from South Carolina, a seat he has held since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party.

A native of Central, South Carolina, Graham graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1977. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1981. He served in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1988 and served in the South Carolina Air National Guard then in the Air Force Reserve, attaining the rank of colonel. He worked as a lawyer in private practice before he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1992, serving one term from 1993 to 1995. He then served in the United States House of Representatives, representing South Carolina's 3rd congressional district from 1995 to 2003. He was elected to four terms, receiving at least 60% of the vote each time.

In 2002, Graham ran for the U.S. Senate after eight-term Republican incumbent Strom Thurmond announced his retirement. Graham won the primary unopposed and defeated Democratic opponent Alex Sanders in the general election. Graham was re-elected to a second term in 2008, defeating Bob Conley. He won a third term in 2014, defeating Democrat Brad Hutto and Independent Thomas Ravenel.

Graham is known in the Senate for his advocacy of a strong national defense, his support of the military, and as an advocate of strong United States leadership in world affairs.[1] He is also known for his willingness to be bipartisan and work with Democrats on many issues like campaign finance reform, line item veto, global warming, waterboarding ban, immigration reform and his belief that judicial nominees should not be opposed solely on their philosophical positions.[2][3][4][5][6][7] He is also a critic of the Tea Party movement, arguing for a more inclusive Republican Party.[6][8][9][10][11][12]

On May 18, 2015, Graham informally announced his candidacy for President of the United States,[13] followed by a formal announcement on June 21, 2015, in his hometown of Central, South Carolina.[14] On December 21, 2015, he ended his campaign for the presidency.[15] He later endorsed Jeb Bush for President.[16] After Bush suspended his campaign on February 20, Graham subsequently endorsed Ted Cruz.[17] In May 2016, Graham refused to support or vote for Donald Trump when he became the presumptive nominee; and later the Republican Presidential candidate.[18]

Contents
  • 1 Early life and education
  • 2 Military service
  • 3 South Carolina House of Representatives
  • 4 U.S. House of Representatives
    • 4.1 Elections
    • 4.2 Tenure
    • 4.3 Committee assignments
  • 5 U.S. Senate
    • 5.1 Elections
      • 5.1.1 2002
      • 5.1.2 2008
      • 5.1.3 2014
    • 5.2 Committee assignments
    • 5.3 Caucus memberships
  • 6 Political positions
    • 6.1 Alito confirmation hearings
    • 6.2 Free speech
    • 6.3 Gang of 14
    • 6.4 National Security Agency surveillance
    • 6.5 Detainee interrogations
    • 6.6 Immigration reform
    • 6.7 Gun rights
    • 6.8 Health care
    • 6.9 Vaccines
    • 6.10 Abortion
    • 6.11 Climate change
    • 6.12 Foreign policy
    • 6.13 Russian interference in the 2016 election
    • 6.14 Drones
    • 6.15 Taxation and trade
    • 6.16 2015 Charleston church shooting and Confederate flag issue
  • 7 Campaign contributions
    • 7.1 Plaintiff's attorneys
  • 8 Presidential politics
  • 9 Electoral history
  • 10 Personal life
  • 11 See also
  • 12 References
  • 13 Further reading
  • 14 External links
Early life and education

Lindsey Olin Graham was born in Central, South Carolina, where his parents, Millie and Florence James "F.J." Graham, ran a restaurant-bar-pool hall-liquor store, the "Sanitary Cafe".[19] After graduating from D. W. Daniel High School, Graham became the first member of his family to attend college, and joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. When he was 21, his mother died of Hodgkin's lymphoma aged 52, and his father died 15 months later of a heart attack, aged 69.[19] Because his then-13-year-old sister was left orphaned, the service allowed Graham to attend University of South Carolina in Columbia so he could be near home and care for his sister, whom he adopted.[11] During his studies, he became a member of the Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity.[20]

He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in psychology in 1977, and from the University of South Carolina School of Law with a J.D. in 1981.[21]

Military service

Upon graduating, Graham was commissioned as an officer and judge advocate in the United States Air Force in 1982. He was placed on active duty and in 1984, he was sent to Europe as a military prosecutor and defense attorney, serving at Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany.[22] In 1984, as he was defending an Air Force pilot accused of using marijuana, he was featured in an episode of 60 Minutes that exposed the Air Force's defective drug-testing procedures.[19][23] After four years in Europe, he returned to South Carolina and then left active duty in 1989.[22] He subsequently entered private practice as a lawyer.[19]

Lt. Gen. Jack L. Rives pins the Meritorious Service Medal on Col. Lindsey Graham.

Following his departure from the Air Force, he joined the South Carolina Air National Guard in 1989, where he served until 1995, then joining the U.S. Air Force Reserve.[22]

During the 1990–91 Gulf War, Graham was recalled to active duty, serving as a judge advocate at McEntire Air National Guard Station in Eastover, South Carolina, where he helped brief departing pilots on the laws of war.[24] In 1998, the Capitol Hill daily newspaper The Hill contended that Graham was describing himself on his website as an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran. Graham responded: "I have not told anybody I'm a combatant. I'm not a war hero, and never said I was.... If I have lied about my military record, I'm not fit to serve in Congress", further noting that he "never deployed."[25][26]

In 1998, Graham was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In 2004, he received his promotion to colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve at a White House ceremony officiated by President George W. Bush.[27] That year, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces held that it was improper for Graham to serve as a military judge while a sitting member of the Senate.[28]

In 2007, Graham served in Iraq as a reservist on active duty for a short period in April and for two weeks in August, where he worked on detainee and rule-of-law issues.[29] He also served in Afghanistan during the August 2009 Senate recess.[30] He was then assigned as a senior instructor for the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps.[22][31] In 2014, Graham received a Bronze Star medal for serving on the task force that oversaw the detention of military prisoners.[32] In 2015, Graham retired from the Air Force with over 33 total years of service, after reaching the statutory retirement age of 60 for his rank.[33]

South Carolina House of Representatives

In 1992, Graham was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from the 2nd district, located in Oconee County. He defeated Democratic incumbent Lowell W. Ross by 60% to 40% and served one term, from 1993 to 1995.[34]

U.S. House of Representatives Elections

In 1994, 20-year incumbent Democratic U.S. Congressman Butler Derrick of South Carolina's northwestern-based 3rd congressional district decided to retire. Graham ran to succeed him and, with Republican U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond campaigning on his behalf, he won the Republican primary with 52% of the vote, defeating Bob Cantrell (33%) and Ed Allgood (15%).[35] In the general election, Graham defeated Democratic State Senator James Bryan, Jr. by 60% to 40%.[36] As a part of that year's Republican Revolution, Graham became the first Republican to represent this district since 1877.[10]

In 1996, he was challenged by Debbie Dorn, the niece of Butler Derrick and daughter of Derrick's predecessor, 13-term Democratic Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn. Graham was re-elected to a second term, defeating Dorn 60% to 40%.[37] In 1998, he won re-election to a third term unopposed.[38] In 2000, he was re-elected to a fourth term against Democrat George Brightharp by 68% to 30%.[39]

Tenure

In 1996, Graham voted for the Defense of Marriage Act.[40]

In 1997, he took part in a leadership challenge against House Speaker Newt Gingrich.[19]

He was a member of the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.[41] He was the only Republican on the Committee to vote against any of the articles of impeachment (the second count of perjury in the Paula Jones case), famously asking: "Is this Watergate or Peyton Place?"[11][19]

Committee assignments

During his service in the House, Graham served on the following committees:

  • Committee on International Relations (1995–1998)
  • Committee on Education and the Workforce (1995–2002)
  • Committee on the Judiciary (1997–2002)
  • Committee on Armed Services (1999–2002)
U.S. Senate Elections 2002 Main article: United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2002

In 2002, long-time Republican U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond decided to retire. Graham ran to succeed him and won the Republican primary unopposed. In the general election, he defeated Democrat Alex Sanders, the former President of the College of Charleston and former Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, by 600,010 votes (54%) to 487,359 (44%).[42] Graham thus became South Carolina's first new U.S. Senator since 1965. He served as the state's Junior Senator for only two years, serving alongside Democrat Ernest Hollings until he retired in 2005.[43]

2008 Main article: United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2008

When Graham ran for a second term in 2008, he was challenged in the Republican primary by National Executive Committeeman of the South Carolina Republican Party Buddy Witherspoon. Graham defeated him by 186,398 votes (66.82%) to 92,547 (33.18%), winning all but one of South Carolina's 46 counties. Graham then defeated Democratic pilot and engineer Bob Conley in the general election by 1,076,534 votes (57.53%) to 790,621 (42.25%),[44] having out-spent Conley by $6.6 million to $15,000.[45]

2014 Main article: United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2014

Of all the Republican Senators up for re-election in the 2014 cycle, Graham was considered one of the most vulnerable to a primary challenge, largely due to his low approval ratings and reputation for working with and compromising with Democrats.[46][47] He expected a primary challenge from conservative activists, including the Tea Party movement,[48] and Chris Chocola, President of the Club for Growth, indicated that his organization would support a primary challenge if an acceptable standard-bearer emerged.[49]

However, a serious challenger to Graham failed to emerge and he was widely viewed as likely to win,[5][12][46] which has been ascribed to his "deft maneuvering" and "aggressive" response to the challenge. He befriended potential opponents from the state's congressional delegation and helped them with fundraising and securing their preferred committee assignments; he assembled a "daunting multimillion-dollar political operation" dubbed the "Graham machine" that built six regional offices across the state and enlisted the support of thousands of paid staffers and volunteers, including over 5,000 precinct captains; he assembled a "staggering" campaign warchest and "blanketed" the state with positive ads; he focused on constituent services and local issues; and he refused to "pander" to the Tea Party supporters, instead confronting them head-on, arguing that the Republican party needs to be more inclusive.[9][10][11][12][50]

In the run-up to the Republican primary, Graham's approval rating improved. According to a Winthrop poll from February 2013, he held a 59% positive rating among Republican likely voters.[51] In the primary, held on June 10, 2014, Graham won with 178,833 votes (56.42%). His nearest challenger, State Senator Lee Bright, received 48,904 votes (15.53%). In the general election, he defeated Democratic State Senator Brad Hutto and Independent Thomas Ravenel, a former Republican State Treasurer.[52]

Committee assignments U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Senators Joni Ernst, Dan Sullivan, John McCain, Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham, and Cory Gardner attending the 2016 International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit in Singapore
  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Defense
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (Chairman)
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
  • Committee on Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
    • Subcommittee on Personnel (Chairman)
    • Subcommittee on Seapower
  • Committee on the Budget
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
    • Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
    • Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism (Chairman)
    • Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law
Previous assignments
  • Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (2003–2005)
  • Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry (2007–2009)
  • Select Committee on Intelligence (2007–2009)
  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs (2007–2011)
  • Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (2009–2011)
  • Special Committee on Aging (2009–2013)[53]
Caucus memberships
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Senate National Guard Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Sportsmen's Caucus
  • Senate Oceans Caucus

Graham is a member of the board of directors of the International Republican Institute.[54]

Political positions

Graham has been referred to by Tea Party opponents as a "moderate Republican".[8][9] He describes himself, however, as a "Reagan-style Republican", and has been described as a fairly conservative Republican with "a twang of moderation" and as having "an independent streak".[5][19][23]

Much of the Tea Party criticism focuses on his willingness to be bipartisan and work with Democrats on issues like climate change, tax reform and immigration reform and his belief that judicial nominees should not be opposed solely on their philosophical positions.[2][3][4][5][6][7] He voted to confirm both of President Obama's Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.[55][56] For his part, Graham has criticized and confronted the Tea Party, arguing for a more inclusive Republican Party.[6][8][9][10][11][12] In the first session of the 115th United States Congress, Graham was ranked the sixth most bipartisan Senator by the Lugar Center and Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy.[57]

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We lost. President Obama won. I've got a lot of opportunity to disagree, but the Constitution, in my view, puts an obligation on me not to replace my judgment for his, not to think of the hundred reasons I would pick someone different... I view my duty as to protect the Judiciary and to ensure that hard-fought elections have meaning in our system. I'm going to vote for her because I believe this election has consequences. And this president chose someone who is qualified to serve on this court and understands the difference between being a liberal judge and a politician. At the end of the day, it wasn't a hard decision... She would not have been someone I would have chosen, but the person who did choose, President Obama, chose wisely.[56]

— Graham, explaining his vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

In the National Journal's ideological rankings of Senators, Graham was named 41st most-conservative in 2003, 38th most-conservative in 2004, 43rd most-conservative in 2005, 33rd most-conservative in 2006, 24th most-conservative in 2007, 15th most-conservative in 2008, 26th most-conservative in 2009, 24th most-conservative in 2010, 42nd most-conservative in 2011, 33rd most-conservative in 2012 and 40th most-conservative in 2013.[58]

Alito confirmation hearings

During the Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings for the nomination of Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court, a question arose concerning Alito's membership in a Princeton University organization which some said was sexist and racist.[59][60] In response, Alito stated that he "deplored" certain racist comments that had been made by the organization's founder.[61] While Graham allowed that Alito might just be saying this because he wanted the nomination, Graham concluded that he had no reason to believe that because "you seem to be a decent, honorable man."[61] Alito's wife and sister characterized Graham's statements as supportive.[62][63]

Free speech Graham (far right) at the signing of the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010

During an appearance on Face the Nation on April 3, 2011,[64] Graham "suggested that Congress take unspecified though formal action against the Koran-burning by Florida preacher Terry Jones," in light of an attack on United Nations personnel triggered by Jones' actions.[65] In asserting that "Congress might need to explore the need to limit some forms of freedom of speech,"[66] Graham argued that "Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war," and claimed that "during World War II, we had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy."[65][67]

Gang of 14

On May 23, 2005, Graham was one of the so-called Gang of 14 senators to forge a compromise that brought a halt to the continued blockage of an up-or-down vote on judicial nominees. This compromise negated both the Democrats' use of a filibuster and the Republican "nuclear option" as described in the media. Under the agreement, the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and subsequently, three conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William H. Pryor, Jr.) received a vote by the full Senate.

National Security Agency surveillance

In response to the 2013 disclosures about the United States National Security Agency and its international partners' global surveillance of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, Graham said that he was "glad" the NSA was collecting phone records. He said: "I'm a Verizon customer. I don't mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States. I don't think you're talking to the terrorists. I know you're not. I know I'm not. So we don't have anything to worry about."[68][69]

On July 25, 2013, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations unanimously adopted an amendment by Senator Graham to the "Fiscal Year 2014 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill"[70] that would seek sanctions against any country that offers asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.[71][72][73]

Detainee interrogations

In July 2005, Graham secured the declassification and release of memoranda outlining concerns made by senior military lawyers as early as 2003 about the legality of the interrogations of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.[74]

Regarding U.S. Citizens accused of supporting terrorism, senator Lindsey Graham has stated before the senate,

.mw-parser-output .quotebox{background-color:#F9F9F9;border:1px solid #aaa;box-sizing:border-box;padding:10px;font-size:88%}.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatleft{margin:0.5em 1.4em 0.8em 0}.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatright{margin:0.5em 0 0.8em 1.4em}.mw-parser-output .quotebox.centered{margin:0.5em auto 0.8em auto}.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatleft p,.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatright p{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .quotebox-title{background-color:#F9F9F9;text-align:center;font-size:larger;font-weight:bold}.mw-parser-output .quotebox-quote.quoted:before{font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;font-weight:bold;font-size:large;color:gray;content:" “ ";vertical-align:-45%;line-height:0}.mw-parser-output .quotebox-quote.quoted:after{font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;font-weight:bold;font-size:large;color:gray;content:" ” ";line-height:0}.mw-parser-output .quotebox .left-aligned{text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .quotebox .right-aligned{text-align:right}.mw-parser-output .quotebox .center-aligned{text-align:center}.mw-parser-output .quotebox cite{display:block;font-style:normal}@media screen and (max-width:360px){.mw-parser-output .quotebox{min-width:100%;margin:0 0 0.8em!important;float:none!important}} When they say, 'I want my lawyer,' you tell them: 'Shut up. You don't get a lawyer. You are an enemy combatant, and we are going to talk to you about why you joined Al Qaeda.'

– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, 2011[75]

In response to this and a June 2004 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing detainees to file habeas corpus petitions to challenge their detentions, Graham authored an amendment to a Department of Defense Authorization Act[76] attempting to clarify the authority of American courts. The amendment passed in November 2005 by a vote of 49–42 in the Senate despite opposition from human rights groups and legal scholars who contended that it limited the rights of detainees.[77][78]

Graham has said he amended the Department of Defense Authorization Act in order to give military lawyers, as opposed to politically appointed lawyers, a more independent role in the oversight of military commanders. He has argued that two of the largest problems leading to the detainee abuse scandals at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib were this lack of oversight and troops' confusion over legal boundaries.[79]

Graham further explained that military lawyers had long observed the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention, but that those provisions had not been considered by the Bush administration in decisions regarding the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. He has claimed that better legal oversight within the military's chain of command will prevent future detainee abuse.[80]

In February 2006, Graham joined Senator Jon Kyl in filing an amicus brief in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case that argued "Congress was aware" that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 would strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear "pending cases, including this case" brought by the Guantanamo detainees.[81]

In a May 2009 CNN interview, Graham referred to the domestic internment of German and Japanese prisoners of war and U.S. Citizens as a model for domestic detention of Guantanamo detainees by saying, "We had 450,000 Japanese and German prisoners housed in the United States during World War II. As a nation, we can deal with this."[82]

Immigration reform

Graham was a supporter of "comprehensive immigration reform" and of S. 2611, the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill of 2006 as well as S. 1348 of 2007, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. His positions on immigration, and in particular collaborating with Senator Ted Kennedy, earned Graham the ire of conservative activists.[83] The controversy prompted conservative activists to support a primary challenge in 2008 by longtime Republican national committeeman Buddy Witherspoon,[84][85] but Graham won the nomination by a large margin.[86] 

In early 2010, Graham began working with Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer on immigration reform.[87] The talks broke down later in the year.[88]

In July 2010, Graham suggested that U.S. citizenship as an automatic birthright guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution should be amended, and that any children born of illegal immigrants inside the borders of the United States should be considered illegal immigrants.[89] Graham alleged that "Half the children born in hospitals on our borders are the children of illegal immigrants."[90] Responding to the Graham claim, The New York Times cited a Pew Foundation study estimating that illegal immigrants account for only 8 percent of births in the United States and that 80 percent of the mothers had been in the U.S. for more than one year.[91]

In November 2012, Graham and Schumer re-opened their talks on comprehensive immigration reform.[88] On January 28, 2013, Graham was a