Lindsey Graham Threatens to Falsify Accusations of Assault Against Democratic Supreme Court Nominees

“If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”

Michael Reynolds/ZUMA Press

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

A visibly irritated Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday voiced his doubts about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He also implied that her accusations have been falsified by Democrats to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination, and threatened future Democratic Supreme Court nominees they would be at risk for the same. 

“Let me tell you my Democratic friends,” Graham said, “if this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”

During a break in Ford’s testimony, Graham spoke to a gaggle of reporters in the Senate. In response to a question about whether he thought some of his Republican colleagues might vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court following Ford’s testimony, Graham said angrily that his colleagues should be highly skeptical of Ford’s accusations. He then warned Democrats that if Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, Republicans will create false accusations of sexual assault against Democrats’ future Supreme Court nominees. 

“To my Republican colleagues,” he said, “if you can ignore everything in this record, look at an allegation that’s 35 years old, that’s uncertain in time, place, date, and no corroboration—if that’s enough for you, God help us all as Republicans. Because this happens to us. It never happens to them.”

Minutes later, reporters tweeted about an interaction Graham had in a Senate elevator with a woman who told him she was a rape victim. Graham responded with a curt “I’m sorry” and told her to go to police. 

In recent days, Graham has repeatedly voiced doubts about Ford’s account. On Fox News on Sunday, he asked, “What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?” Graham added he thought Ford was being “used” as a political pawn. “This accusation is 36 years old. I don’t know when it happened or where it happened. And all the people who have been named say it didn’t happen.” 

Last week, he was also criticized for saying to a Washington Post reporter of Ford, who has a doctorate and is a college professor, “I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close.”

Listen: Jamilah King hosts a special breaking news edition of the Mother Jones Podcast, with Supreme Court reporter Stephanie Mencimer and Washington DC Bureau Chief David Corn. Everything you need to know about the historic Kavanaugh hearings—and what comes next.

We want to hear from you: How are you reacting to the hearing? We may publish a selection of your responses in a follow-up story.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend