The spokesman for Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) quietly dismissed the remarks that Graham made last weekend in New Hampshire saying he would “literally use the military” to hold Congress until its members restored defense spending cuts. The audio, first exposed by Ron Noyes of BenSwann.com, spread quickly across the country and caused several media outlets to express either bewilderment or concern.
According to Bloomberg Politics, Graham’s spokesman, Kevin Bishop, said that Graham’s words were “not to be taken literally,” despite the Senator’s own use of the word “literally” when making that remark. It can be argued that Graham didn’t understand the correct use of certain words, but is his military statement simply another instance of the Senator making peculiar musings that are supposed to be considered humorous?
Graham has made his share of “jokes” as Senator. He recently mocked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s personal appearance during a private fundraiser. “If you can get through all the surgeries, there’s disgust,” he reportedly said regarding Pelosi’s face during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, according to Bloomberg. Graham reportedly apologized and claimed he “made a very poor attempt at humor to talk about (Pelosi’s) reaction, and for that I apologize.” Graham has also joked in the past about a lack of “angry white guys” in the Republican Party, made a humorous pledge that “white men who are in private clubs are going to do great in my presidency” during a speech at a private club, and poked fun at the possibility of John McCain being killed during a trip to Syria.
However, Graham does not usually apply humor when discussing the military or government power. Graham’s potential presidential run is somberly based on pressing for a “robust national defense.” His presidential exploratory committee is called Security Through Strength. Graham told reporters last month that “What compels me to run is that I’ve never been more worried about our nation and the threats we face at home and abroad, and we’re running out of time to deal with these threats. Never since 9/11 have I seen so many terrorists, or dare I say armies now, with so much safe haven, so many recruits, so much money, so much capability to attack our nation than I do today.”
Graham was completely serious when he said “The world is literally about to blow up” expressing his disagreement with President Barack Obama’s 2014 State Of the Union Address, and adding that “The world as I know was not remotely described by the president. Syria is a contagion.” When Graham claimed that the Islamic State “will open the gates of hell to spill out on the world”, that was not likely a joke he was making on Fox News. Graham was also serious when he defended the NSA’s massive data collection of the phone calls of Americans, and he actually believes that the collection is limited to terror suspects.
Was Graham joking when he said he would use the military to serve his own interests? It’s possible. Bishop, who reportedly claimed that Mediaite and Bloomberg were the only media outlets to ask for a response to Graham’s remarks, has not provided an official statement. Despite an inquiry from BenSwann.com for clarification, this was the only reply offered:
If Graham was indeed making a wisecrack, his comment offered about as much humor and class as President Obama’s joke about killing the Jonas Brothers with predator drones.