Jaime Harrison debates Graham behind plexiglass shield
South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison set up a plexiglass barrier between himself and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) during the first debate of their tightening race on Saturday night.
Harrison stood with the barrier to his side during the debate, which was held in Columbia, S.C., at Allen University. He addressed the move while he was calling on South Carolinians to hold elected officials accountable for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democratic candidate said that “we shouldn’t blame anybody for the inception of this disease,” adding that “where blame should come is how we handle this disease, whether or not we take it seriously.”
“Tonight, I am taking it seriously. That’s why I put this plexiglass up, because it’s not just about me. It’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of as well, my two boys, my wife, my grandmother,” Harrison said.
“Let’s take this issue seriously and do all that we can to not only take care of ourselves but each other,” Harrison added.
Jaime Harrison: “Where blame should come is how we handled this disease — whether or not we take it seriously.” pic.twitter.com/fGilEdWhxT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 4, 2020
Graham said on Friday that he was tested for COVID-19 after learning that Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tested positive for the virus. Graham, the chairman of the committee, said he tested negative.
After being informed of his positive test, and out of an abundance of caution, I was tested for COVID-19 in South Carolina.
I was informed I was negative.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 2, 2020
Guy King, the Harrison campaign’s communications director, said Graham “should have” self-quarantined, adding that his test results could be “inconclusive after such a recent exposure.”
“Jaime Harrison has always taken the coronavirus very seriously,” King said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.”
Harrison and Graham are set to face off again on Oct. 12 and Oct. 21.
Several Republican lawmakers and officials have tested positive for coronavirus this week. Republican Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) both tested positive for COVID-19.
Washington was rocked early Friday morning after President Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus. The president on Friday was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is set to remain for several days.
–Updated on Oct. 4 at 11:41 a.m.