Harrison slams Graham over ‘good old days of segregation’ remark

Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison, who is Black, is calling out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for referring to the Jim Crow era in the South as the “good old days of segregation,” a comment that appeared to be flippant but now is a likely campaign issue.

The comment drew a strong rebuke from Harrison, who is tied in most polls with Graham in the South Carolina Senate race.

“@LindseyGrahamSC just called segregation ‘the good old days.’ The good old days for who, Senator? it’s 2020, not 1920. Act like it,” Harrison tweeted along with an 11-second video clip of Graham’s comment.

Harrison’s campaign spokesman Guy King called Graham “completely out of touch the South Carolina of today” and said he “has lost his moral compass.”

Graham pushed back hard against Harrison when the committee took a lunch break and claimed his opponent was “manufacturing” an attack out of a sarcastic remark.

“It was with deep sarcasm that I suggested that some legislative body would want to yearn for the good old days of segregation,” he said.

“The point that I’m trying to make — there is nobody in America in the legislative arena wanting to take us back to that dark period in American history,” he said. “For my opponent to suggest that says far more about him than me.”

Graham made his comment while asking Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett about her views of so-called superprecedents, which she has loosely defined as Supreme Court rulings which are so well settled that no one in the country is thinking of challenging them.

Seeking to clarify Barrett’s view of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools, Graham said “you’re not aware of any effort to go back to the good old days of segregation by a legislative body.”

The comment appeared to be a flippant, off-the-cuff remark and didn’t draw any immediate rebuke from any Democrats at the hearing. 

The comment calls to mind the furor that erupted around former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) in 2002 when, during a tribute to the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), he praised Mississippi’s support for Thurmond’s segregationist presidential campaign of 1948.

“We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead,” Lott said, “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

Lott was later forced to resign his leadership post because of the comment. 

Updated: 12:43 p.m.

Tags Jaime Harrison Lindsey Graham

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