Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) has taken to defending President Donald Trump, despite his rather harsh criticism of Trump during the 2016 election. The simple explanation for this turnabout is strategy: Graham and Trump see eye-to-eye on a lot of policies and Trump is wildly popular among the South Carolina GOP base. After the moderate senator began defending the president, his support among South Carolina Republicans went up a whopping 21 points.
On the other hand, maybe Trump has evidence that Lindsey Graham has unusual sexual inclinations, and is secretly forcing his hand. That's the theory being floated on ol' Twitter dot com, first going viral after a tweet from Democratic strategist, Resistance hero, and noted dumbass Jon Cooper.
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
Now purely by coincidence, a few days later MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle said on air that maaaaybe Lindsey Graham had some dark secret and that's why he was suddenly supportive of Trump. "It could be that Donald Trump or somebody knows something pretty extreme about Lindsey Graham," Ruhle said. "We’re gonna have to leave it there."
The next day, another popular Resistance Twitter account with the handle @MuslimIQ tweeted "I can’t even imagine what they have on Graham."
"They got to him, he is compromised!" responded Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Even if the Cooper tweet never existed, anyone who has spent more than two minutes following politics knows the Lindsey Graham rumor is that he's gay. This is not a secret. Graham has addressed the rumors head on and on the record. When you talk about some tawdry secret Graham has, it's his sexuality. End of story.
This is not even a particularly original conspiracy. Back when Graham was despised by fellow conservatives for his support of immigration reform, a South Carolina Tea Party leader suggested he was being blackmailed into it by Democrats. Cooper is not the first liberal to resurrect and repurpose the conspiracy theory. "Hey, @LindseyGrahamSC what kind of dick sucking video do they have on you for you 2 be acting like this? Wouldn’t coming out be more honorable?" tweeted alleged comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted over a year ago.
But when pressed on CNN, Omar insisted that she was talking about something else entirely. "I am pretty sure that there is something happening with him, whether it is something that has to do with his funding, when it comes to running for office, whether it has something to do with the polling that they might have in his district, or whether it has to do with some sort of leadership within the Senate," she responded.
So uh, yeah, Omar's defense is that she was actually referring to some other, ill-defined unproven conspiracy theory. But here's the thing: virtually every major politician has flip-flopped on a major issue in a public way. The number of Republicans and conservatives who took strong and passionate anti-Trump stances, only to support him once he was elected, is large: Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Brent Bozell, take your pick.
Graham is actually better than most GOP Senators in calling out Trump. Only yesterday he publicly complained that Trump's Syria policy and rhetoric were emboldening ISIS. As I was finishing this paragraph, Graham sent another tweet criticizing the president.
President Trump denying Speaker Pelosi military travel to visit our troops in Afghanistan, our allies in Egypt and NATO is also inappropriate.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 17, 2019
And yet, mysteriously, it's only Graham who's hit with the evidence-free allegation of blackmail. A few days after a popular Resistance account claimed Graham was being blackmailed for "pretty serious sexual kink." And I guess when Stephanie Ruhle grinned ear-to-ear when spreading the blackmail allegation, she was thinking about "polling" or something.
What's odd is even though modern liberalism is replete with Professional Dog Whistle Hearers, none of them seem to have the ability or interest in divining the implication of Omar's tweet. Omar claims she never meant to imply Graham was being blackmailed for his super secret sexual orientation, so reporters insist we give her a pass. Trump also insisted he meant Megyn Kelly was bleeding out of her nose, but reporters seemed to work out his actual meaning.
Democrats and MSNBC should call out and punish the Graham rumormongers in any case: it's outrageous that reporters and politicians would spreading conspiracies with no evidence behind them. But it'd be a shame if they chose to ignore the obvious gay-baiting as well.