Lindsey Graham is taking some heat from critics online after the South Carolina senator refused to take a coronavirus test for a debate, leading to unfounded accusations that he may be infected.
As The Hill reported, a debate between Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison planned for Friday had been scrapped due to a dispute over testing. Harrison said he would not participate unless Graham first underwent a COVID-19 test, given that he had been in contact with other top Republicans who have tested positive in recent days.
There has not been any indication that the South Carolina senator has been infected, and he has not reported any symptoms.
Graham took aim at his opponent on Twitter for the canceled face-off, accusing the Democrat of ducking the debate because he did not want to defend his “radical policies.”
Appears @harrisonjaime is skipping tonights debate.
Mr. Harrision is ducking the debate because the more we know about his radical policies, the less likely he is to win. It's not about medicine, its politics.
His liberal views are a loser in South Carolina – and he knows it!
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 9, 2020
But many more critics took aim at Graham, including unfounded allegations that he was positive for coronavirus and did not want to get tested. The hashtag #LindseyGrahamHasCovid shot to the top of Twitter’s trends late on Friday, with many speculating that he had joined Donald Trump in contracting the highly contagious virus.
Just picked up my dinner and logged on to this website and i see that #LindseyGrahamHasCovid is trending. Guess that’s what happens when you refuse to get tested.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) October 9, 2020
As The Inquisitr reported, Graham has often been a target for ridicule among opponents on the left. The onetime critic of Trump, who has since turned into one of his most fervent supporters, has attracted national opposition, with many donating to his opponent’s campaign and even prompting Graham to make public pleas for fundraising help.
The canceled showdown was replaced by a series of separate interviews for the candidates. Some speculated that he may have some strategic intent in skipping the planned debate with his challenger. Nate Silver of the polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight speculated that Graham was afraid that a confirmation that he has the virus would ensure that Supreme Court hearings could not take place.
“Repeating myself and others here, but the reason Lindsey Graham won’t get tested despite having been exposed to many COVID+ people is because if he reveals a positive test and has to quarantine the Amy Coney Barrett nomination could get scuttled,” Silver tweeted. “There is no other logical reason.”
Others joined Silver in speculating that the desire among Republicans to fill the vacancy before the election is likely the reason for the refusal to undergo COVID-19 testing.
Either he’s scared to debate or he’s afraid he’s infected and doesn’t want to delay the SCOTUS hearing. Or both. Either should be disqualifying. https://t.co/m20YErAE33
— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) October 9, 2020
Graham serves as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and would oversee a process that is already thrown into doubt given a series of coronavirus infections for Republican senators.