Congresswoman Struggles To Explain Provocative Tweet Claiming Lindsey Graham "Compromised"

Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) awkwardly struggled to explain her accusation that Sen. Lindsey Graham is "compromised" in her response to a tweet implying that the South Carolina senator is being blackmailed to support President Trump. 

When pressed on her tweet by CNN, Omar said "I am pretty sure that there is something happening with him - whether it is something that has to do with his funding when it comes to running for office. Whether it has to do with the polling that they might have in his district. Or whether it has to do with some sort of leadership within the Senate," adding "He is somehow compromised"

Jim Sciutto: That's quite a charge to make, you say you're pretty sure - based on what evidence? What facts? That's a remarkable comment to make about a sitting US Senator. 

Omar: The, the, the, the evidence really is present to us - it's being presented to us by the way he is behaving.

Poppy Harlow: But that's not evidence, that's your opinion. 

Omar: My tweet was just an opinion based on what I believe to be visible to me, and I'm pretty sure there are lots of Americans who agree on this. 


As noted by Grabien, accusations of Graham being blackmailed are part of a longstanding "whisper campaign" over the South Carolina Senator's sexuality - such as this Sunday tweet from the chair of a Democratic super PAC, John Cooper, who said that Graham was being "probably" being blackmailed over "some pretty serious sexual kink." 

Meanwhile, on MSNBC, anchor Stephanie Ruhle made the same claim. During a panel on the same day as Rashid’s tweet, Graham’s 2015 “bigot” comment was brought up. Former Republican David Jolly said Graham apparently has a “change of heart.”

Or, Ruhle said, “Donald Trump or somebody knows something pretty extreme about Lindsey Graham.”

“Pretty extreme”? The idea, of course, was to let viewers’ imaginations take over from there. Ruhle is not the only MSNBC host to traffic in anti-gay rumor-mongering about Graham. On a now-defunct blog, her colleague Joy Ann Reid repeatedly referred to Graham as “Miss Lindsey.” (She also accused Karl Rove, then-Republican Charlie Crist, and the son of Chief Justice Roberts of being gay.) -Grabien

Graham has previously denied being gay, telling the New York Times in 2010: "I ain't gay."