Lindsey Graham says blacks can ‘go anywhere’ in South Carolina if they are conservative | South Carolina

At a televised campaign event, US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said African Americans and immigrants can “go anywhere” in their home state, but “just need to be conservative”.

Graham made the comment in a televised “conversation” with his political rival, former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison, the first African American to take office.

He made the observation in the context of political careers and said that Harrison would lose because he is a Democrat, not because he is black.

“Do I believe that our policemen are systemically racist? No. Do I believe that South Carolina is a racist state? No. Let me tell you why. For young people out there, young blacks, young immigrants, this is a great state, but one thing I can say without a doubt, you can be an African American and go to the Senate, but you just have to share our values. “

He continued: “If you are young, African American or immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, just be conservative, not liberal”.

The comment was in response to a question about civil unrest, and how America assesses it with its long history of racism and ongoing police brutality, including national disgust after the death of black man George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer.

South Carolina was a Confederate state during the civil war and later institutionalized racism during the Jim Crow era, reinforcing the second-class status of African Americans.

Graham, a longtime senator, is tied with Harrison in a highly competitive race.

The conversation was originally planned as a debate, but was changed at the last moment because Graham refused to take the Covid-19 test, despite a major outbreak in the Trump White House, which infected two of Graham’s Republican colleagues in the Senate.

That speculation and Graham’s comments – which sparked a flood of fury online – drove Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell Tweet: “Is that the fever talking, or the steroids?”

Bulwark editor Charlie Sykes was even more direct, saying, “Lindsey, 1954 wants his reference point back.”