Press Release: Lindsey Graham Keeps Moving the Goalposts on Federal Coronavirus Response

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Columbia, S.C. — As the nation eclipses 85,000 fatalities due to the coronavirus and as the CDC projects we’ll be hitting 100,000 deaths by June 1, Sen. Lindsey Graham has been going to great lengths to avoid applying pressure on the federal response, noticeably shifting his standards on what constitutes a successful government handling of this disease.  

Sen. Graham’s moving goalposts, in a timeline: 

  • April 8: 50,000 –  “If we can hold the death rate below 50,000…then I would say we’ve acted decisively.” (Interview on Fox News)
  • April 8: 100,000 – “Trump’s strategy and policy regarding the virus is working. We’re driving down the curve every day….So I think we’re going to be well under 100,000 deaths…” (Interview with Sean Hannity)
  • April 14: 100,000 – “So I think the president has made really hard calls well, and we’re gonna be well below the 100,000 minimum expected, and it’s due to his leadership…” (Interview on Fox News)
  • May 14: 120,000 – “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he also sees fighting the pandemic as analogous to a war and has been thinking about what success would look like. He was even willing to offer a number of total deaths below which success might be measured. ‘The closer you can have it to 120 [thousand deaths], I think you can say you limited the casualties in this war,’ Graham said.” (Politico article)

“We need leadership who will speak truth to power, no matter who sits in the Oval Office,” campaign spokesman Guy King said. “This moving of the goalposts is little more than blatant political maneuvering, and proves again that Sen. Graham cares far more about defending those in power than helping the families of South Carolina. This cavalier posture is especially troubling from a senator representing a state currently ranking in absolute last place in coronavirus tests per capita.” 

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