Too Pro-Trump: MSNBC Mourns Lindsey's Graham’s Loss of ‘Reputation’

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One of the fiercest critics of the House Democrats' impeachment efforts to this point has been South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. The self-righteous panel on Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports jumped on him for alleged hypocrisy. They didn't seem to realize that many in the media have flipped their positions on impeachment. 

Susan Page of USA Today took the opportunity to take a swipe at Graham, choosing to use the death of his longtime friend, Sen. John McCain as a political club, "It's been remarkable since the death of Senator McCain how Senator Graham's reputation has changed, because as an ally of Senator McCain he was seen as a maverick, as someone who stood up against Republican interests sometimes." In other words, Graham was good when he and McCain were working with liberals, but when they work with conservatives, their reputations suffer. 

 

 

The segment started with host Andrea Mitchell playing a clip of Lindsey Graham in 1999 advocating for Bill Clinton's impeachment following by a clip of Graham on Wednesday opposing the impeachment of President Trump. For, Mitchell this was quite obviously a case of Republican hypocrisy. Tossing the discussion to The Bulwark's Charlie Sykes, Mitchell asked, "Charlie, what do you make of Lindsey Graham, the transformation?"

Sykes took the opportunity to also condemn Graham, "Well, that was then and this is now. With Lindsey Graham, all ethics apparently are situational, right? One position when it's Bill Clinton, a totally different position when it's Donald Trump." Sykes then contradicted himself by saying that Graham is not a yes man for Trump, "Of course he's also capable of being very, very critical of the president, accusing him of shamelessly betraying the Kurds, lying about, while at the same time carrying water for the President in the United States Senate, so it’s a very complicated place in Lindsey Graham’s head these days."

Mitchell then expanded the segment to all Senate Republicans, "What about the rest of the Senate? We've seen Mitt Romney stand up, a few others, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins kind of dipped her toe in the water but not really, in terms of the offense, as they view it, but not that it is an impeachable offense, no one's saying that amongst Senate Republicans."

Jonathan Capehart then illustrated the hypocrisy of it all. While the media, not to mention Democratic politicians, opposed Clinton's impeachment, they are all in for Trump's, "Look, I like 1999 Lindsey Graham, what he was saying in today's world is the right thing to do. The presidency does need to be cleansed." He finished off the segment by going after Susan Collins in a confusing non-sequitur, "I would expect more from Senator Collins, given all the great work she did in terms of overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell. Where is that courageous Susan Collins?"

What Don't Ask, Don't Tell has to do with Ukraine, Capehart did not say. Adding to his confused analogy, Susan Collins actually voted to acquit Bill Clinton on both articles 1999.   

Here is a transcript of the October 9 panel discussion:

MSNBC

Andrea Mitchell Reports

12:33 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: Senator Lindsey Graham is continuing to staunchly defend President Trump on impeachment and warned that the Senate will never convict President Trump for what he said on the call to Ukraine's new leader, a stark contrast from the way Graham prosecuted Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial 20 years ago. 

BEGIN CLIP

LINDSEY GRAHAM [IN 1999]: This body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. 

GRAHAM [IN 2019]: They're about to destroy the nation for no good reason. I've read the transcript. I do not see anything wrong there. And I want Nancy Pelosi to know that Republican senators are not going to impeach this president based on this transcript. 

END CLIP:

MITCHELL: Well, then and now. Joining me now is Charlie Sykes, MSNBC political analyst and editor at large at "The Bulwark," Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for “USA Today”, and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for "The Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst. Charlie, what do you make of Lindsey Graham, the transformation? 

CHARLIE SYKES: Well, that was then and this is now. With Lindsey Graham, all ethics apparently are situational, right? One position when it's Bill Clinton, a totally different position when it's Donald Trump. Of course he's also capable of being very, very critical of the president, accusing him of shamelessly betraying the Kurds, lying about, while at the same time carrying water for the President in the United States Senate, so it’s a very complicated place in Lindsey Graham’s head these days. 

MITCHELL: And one of your quotes from your blog, I guess, or from Twitter is, you said that, on Lindsey Graham in a political article, “The humiliation of Lindsey Graham,” “Graham has transformed himself from one of Trump's fiercest critics, into one of his most reflective defenders. Even by the cynical and shape-shifting standards of Washington, Graham’s metamorphosis has been a thing of wonder.” Susan, a thing of wonder? 

SUSAN PAGE: It's been remarkable since the death of Senator McCain how Senator Graham's reputation has changed, because as an ally of Senator McCain he was seen as a maverick, as someone who stood up against Republican interests sometimes. And that reputation I think has been thoroughly transformed now because of his willingness to defend President Trump. The pesky thing are these TV cameras that record what you say and play them back years later. I know that's very annoying for many politicians. That's true not just for Lindsey Graham but others. But Lindsey Graham is in a particularly vulnerable place, I think, at this moment. 

MITCHELL: What about the rest of the Senate? We've seen Mitt Romney stand up, a few others, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins kind of dipped her toe in the water but not really, in terms of the offense, as they view it, but not that it is an impeachable offense, no one's saying that amongst Senate Republicans. 

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Look, I like 1999 Lindsey Graham, what he was saying in today's world is the right thing to do. The presidency does need to be cleansed. But Mitt Romney, Senator Romney can't be the only one to give a fill-throated condemnation of what's happening. I would expect more from Senator Collins, given all the great work she did in terms of overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell. Where is that courageous Susan Collins? Where are the courageous members of the Republican Party who I grew up watching, standing firm for the constitution and the honor and dignity of the oval office? They are gone. Lindsey Graham was one of those people. And as Charlie calls him shape-shifting, I don't even know if shape-shifting is the right word. I don't know who that person is anymore. I don't know who or what the Republican Party is anymore. 

 

 

 
NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports Video Susan Collins Andrea Mitchell Susan Page Jonathan Capehart Charlie Sykes Donald Trump Bill Clinton Lindsey Graham

 

 
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