Lindsey Graham went from being one of the most vocal critics of Donald Trump to one of his fiercest defenders, and the head of one Democratic Super PAC believes he knows why.
Jon Cooper, the chair of The Democratic Coalition, cited an anonymous Republican source who said that the South Carolina senator is being blackmailed over what he said was a “serious sexual kink.”
“A Republican just told me that he doubts Lindsey Graham is kowtowing to Trump (and indirectly Putin) because he’s being blackmailed over his sexual orientation (an open secret) or even financial corruption. Rather, he thinks it probably involves some pretty serious sexual kink,” Cooper wrote on Twitter.
While Graham once vocally opposed Trump, even calling him racist during the 2016 campaign, he has softened considerably in recent months. The two have become golf partners, and Graham has publicly backed Trump in a number of areas.
Cooper’s report attracted attention across the internet, with LGBTQ Nation picking up the story and noting the long-running rumors that Graham is secretly gay (which Graham has denied). Cooper, who is openly gay, said he does not care about Graham’s sexual orientation — but does care that Graham is apparently being blackmailed by either Donald Trump or Russia into supporting the president.
Cooper’s statement has attracted quite a bit of backlash, the LGBTQ Nation report pointed out. The Intercept founder and journalist Glenn Greenwald called the assertion “repulsive, homophobic gutter trash” while guesting on Fox News, per the Washington Times — and suggested that Cooper is making baseless accusations against Graham. Others suggested that Cooper is trying to smear Graham for his support of Donald Trump, which has made him persona non grata among Democrats who once backed his Trump criticisms.
A number of right-leaning outlets have also picked up on Cooper’s tweet, sharing the backlash. Russian state-sponsored media outlet RT also covered the controversy, noting that Graham had raised eyebrows with his sharp reversal on opposing Donald Trump.
“While Graham still disagrees with Trump on many issues – like the US withdrawal from Syria, his change of heart has been widely seen by Trump’s opponents as a betrayal,” the report noted.
Head of @TheDemCoalition was told Lindsey Graham is likely being blackmailed by Trump or Russia w/ a ‘serious sexual kink.’ Jon Cooper, who is openly gay, says his concern about Graham has nothing to do w/ his sexual orientation but rather blackmail fear.https://t.co/pzwOkFW8cQ
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) January 16, 2019
While Lindsey Graham has become one of Donald Trump’s fiercest defenders in a number of areas, the South Carolina senator has still been critical of Trump in other policy realms, including the recent partial government shutdown. While Trump has stood firm in his demand for border wall funding, Graham has been pushing Trump to make a deal with Democrats that would end the shutdown.