Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamKerry: US 'on the verge' of suspending talks with Russia on Syria GOP leaders express reservations a day after 9/11 veto override McConnell opens door to changing 9/11 bill MORE (R-S.C.) on Wednesday defended his comments linking the administration's response to the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, to the turmoil in Ukraine.
He said the credibility of the United States is harmed when President Obama makes threats, but does not follow through.
The South Carolina senator said his tough comments on Benghazi are not a result of election-year politics. He will be just as vocal after he wins his primary, he said.
"Everything I've done has been about what I think is best for the country,” he said. “I think it's best to find the truth about Benghazi. When my primary's over, and I'm going to win, I'm going still be on Benghazi."
Graham made his initial comments in a string of tweets Tuesday, claiming “The world is never a better place when you have a weak, indecisive American president. And Russia is a symptom of that weakness.”
He went on: “It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression.”
Russia’s decision to move troops into the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine follows directly from the administration’s failure to hold anyone accountable after the deadly attacks in Benghazi in 2012 that left four Americans dead, he said.
The administration has pushed back hard on Graham’s assertion. Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said the Benghazi-Ukraine link “jumped the shark.”
Obama has maintained Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine have come from a place of weakness, not strength.
“I actually think that this has not been a sign of strength but rather is a reflection that countries near Russia have deep concerns and suspicions about this kind of meddling, and if anything, it will push many countries further away from Russia,” Obama said earlier this week.