MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle has suggested that President Donald Trump must know something “pretty extreme” about Senator Lindsay Graham for the latter’s views on the president to have shifted so significantly in just 24 months.
Ruhle made the comments during her 9 a.m. slot on MSNBC while taking part in a panel discussion with former U.S. Representative David Jolly. They were discussing Lindsay Graham, the Republican Senator from South Carolina who has recently taken over the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
During the debate, Jolly made the observation that “[b]efore Don got elected, Lindsey Graham called Donald Trump a racist, xenophobic bigot. Those are Lindsey Graham’s words.”
“I doubt Lindsey Graham could tell you Donald Trump has had a change of heart in the last 24 months, I bet the change of heart has been with Lindsey Graham, not the president,” Jolly continued before Ruhle interjected to say, “or it could be that Donald Trump or somebody knows something pretty extreme about Lindsey Graham.”
Ruhle gave a smirk and then quickly brought the debate to a close by saying, “[w]e’re gonna have to leave it there.”
While Ruhle’s comment may not be supported by any evidence, she is not the first liberal voice to question Graham’s remarkable change of heart about President Trump over the past two years.
New Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, tweeted a similar accusation on Tuesday. Responding to a comment about Graham which asked what the Trump administration had on Graham, she simply tweeted, “They got to him, he is compromised!”
On Sunday, Jon Cooper, who is chairman of the Democratic Coalition super PAC, made an even more explicit accusation about Graham. He claimed on Twitter to have spoken with an unnamed Republican who he said believed that Graham was being blackmailed over “some pretty serious sexual kink.”
Cooper, who is gay himself, described Graham’s sexual orientation as “an open secret” and suggested that “there’s a strong likelihood that he’s being blackmailed by the Russians.” He offered no evidence to support these accusations.
A Republican just told me that he doubts @LindseyGrahamSC 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.— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) January 13, 2019
Graham, who is a lifelong bachelor, has consistently denied rumors that he is gay. As recently as October, he said on Twitter, “[t]o the extent that it matters, I’m not gay,” in response to a tweet from comedian Chelsea Handler implying that he was gay.
Plenty of other Twitter users have condemned the implications made by Ruhle on MSNBC. Glenn Greenwald, who is himself gay, compared it to baseless Republican allegations about President Obama’s nationality, saying that just because such accusations come from liberals, doesn’t make it ok.
It's on the same level as the worst stuff Glenn Beck used to do at his Fox chalkboard, or the gross innuendo about how Obama was a secret Muslim Manchurian candidate: just as baseless & dependent on bigoted stereotypes. But it's OK for many liberals because it comes from MSNBC: https://t.co/tEoGYS2SUa— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 16, 2019