On Wednesday evening, CNN received an audio recording of comments Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made to an all-male Irish-Catholic organization in South Carolina earlier in the month. While speaking to the group at a private meeting, Graham stated that “white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.” Graham also cracked jokes about Baptists and dropped at least one F-bomb. Graham responded by saying that he was only cracking jokes and making fun of the Hibernian Society’s status as an all-male club. He acknowledged that he did indeed make the remarks earlier this month.
CNN received the recording from two South Carolina Democrats who wish to remain anonymous. Both Democrats received the recording from an unknown source who sent it to them via a nameless Gmail account. The source told the two Democrats that the audio was of Graham speaking to an exclusively male club a few weeks ago. Obviously, the recording is legitimate as Graham fully acknowledges the remarks are his and volunteered when and where it occurred.
Below is a clip of the audio, courtesy of CNN:
The money quote is this:
“I’m trying to help you with your tax status. I’m sorry the government’s so f—ed up. If I get to be president, white men in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.”
Graham has hinted that he might throw his hat in the 2016 Presidential race and his comments to the Hibernian Society shows that he may indeed be serious. Of course, those very comments may derail his campaign before it even begins. When you indicate, even ‘jokingly,’ that you are for the white guys who belong to exclusive clubs, you can pretty much kiss any large-scale support goodbye. Graham can try to walk this back and say that this was all in good fun and nothing more than a ‘roast’ type of event, but considering the GOP’s issues with minority outreach and its long-standing gender gap in general elections, any clarifications or half-hearted apologies are going to fall flat.
As one would expect, Graham was already taking heat from Democrats, liberals and progressive regarding the remarks.
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) October 30, 2014
— GottaLaff (@GottaLaff) October 30, 2014
Republicans who have campaigned with Lindsey Graham (e.g. Joni Ernst) should be asked about his “white men” comment. https://t.co/QtsZ2ToDe8
— Jamison Foser (@jamisonfoser) October 29, 2014
These comments will follow Graham for a while and likely make him the butt of a number of jokes from the likes of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher. In the end, it is just further confirmation that the Republican Party is the party of white Southern men.