Imagine if a radical right-winger met with the leader of ISIS and then threatened to use military force to overthrow the U.S. government.
That’s what Lindsey Graham has done, yet instead of languishing in Guantanamo Bay, he’s in the Senate.
During a speech in Concord, New Hampshire, Graham said he would use the force of the U.S. military to compel Congress to pass a bill to restore defense funding.
“And here’s the first thing I would do if I were president of the United States. I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to,” said the South Carolina Senator.
As Vox’s Amanda Taub points out, “Graham would use the military to force members of Congress to not just vote on the bill — but to pass it. Graham didn’t say “until I get an up-or-down vote on restoring defense cuts.” He said “until we restore these defense cuts.”
“If taken literally, Graham is basically announcing his plan to stage a coup: he is saying that if he gains control of the executive branch, he will use his authority as commander in chief to overcome the separation of powers and force the legislative branch to do his bidding, instead of allowing it to act as an independent branch of the government.”
Graham’s spokesperson later came out and said that when Graham said he would “literally use the military,” that statement was “not to be taken literally”.
If a Tea Party activist threatened to raise a militia in order to storm Capitol Hill and force lawmakers to pass a bill, he would be called a terrorist, arrested and sent to prison.
But Graham is free to make such statements, before hastily claiming it was all a joke, while having met with actual terrorists.
Along with John McCain, in September 2012 Graham met with LIFG militant Abdelhakim Belhadj, the man now leading ISIS in LIbya. Belhadj fought alongside jihadists who killed U.S. troops in Iraq.
Thankfully, the chances of Graham becoming President are extremely slim, but the mere fact that he has been voted into office three times is alarming enough.