Opinion: Lindsey Graham’s descent into full-blown Trumpism fascinates and puzzles readers

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham holds up a copy of the so-called Steele dossier during testimony Dec. 11 on Capitol Hill.
(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

What’s the matter with Sen. Lindsey Graham? It’s a question that’s been raised often by our letter writers, many of whom reliably deride any of President Trump’s defenders but have expressed a particular bemusement over the South Carolina Republican’s whiplash conversion from Trump skeptic to ardent apologist.

Truth be told, Graham was never a moderate Republican, and his GOP establishment bona fides are indisputable. Still, he left plenty of clues (remember his stand-up routine on hating Ted Cruz, or when he posted a video of himself destroying his cellphone after then-candidate Trump gave out his personal number?) that he valued something besides partisanship. His reputation as a defense and intelligence hawk and the late John McCain’s closest friend in the Senate suggested Trump might not be able to count on his loyalty.

With the House poised to impeach Trump, Graham’s defenses of the president have become more conspicuous. Consequently, our letter writers are once again raising the question: What happened?


James Breese of Avila Beach, Calif., theorizes this is about a job:

I finally figured it out: Graham has been offered the position of vice president. I don’t know how that will come about, or when, or why, but it’s the most obvious explanation for his recent behavior as a super loyal Republican Party soldier.

Duarte resident Ron Garber mentions a late friend and colleague of Graham’s:

Every time I hear Graham defending Trump, I can’t help but picture poor John McCain, his close friend and the late senator from Arizona, turning in his grave.

Kevin H. Park of Oklahoma City also mentions McCain:

It appears that Sen. Lindsey Graham has been visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past to cause him to go against the most vocal defenders of the president and state that he believes Russia, not Ukraine, was the sole meddler in our 2016 election.


I would like to think that the memory of McCain played the role of Jacob Marley to Graham’s Ebenezer Scrooge, as he is transformed into a better person in his quest for redemption.

George Eaton of Arcadia lumps Graham in with company:

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Atty. Gen. William Barr and Graham have something in common: They once were noted for integrity, but now their reputations and souls have been sold to Trump.

Vicki Scrimger of Rancho Palos Verdes believes this will not end well for Graham:

Graham defends Trump, like most other Republicans in Congress. It galls me that they are afraid of Trump bullying them and costing them their jobs. It’s like a cult whose members are swallowing cyanide.

I believe these people will lose future elections, especially Graham. It’s too bad they cannot defend the Constitution.