Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., undertook the herculean task Wednesday of defending President Trump’s mocking of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who alleges Kavanaugh tried to rape her when they were both in high school.
In the senator’s attempt to run interference for Trump, he engaged in a complicated bit of whataboutism, arguing that if you think what the president said this week about Ford is “degrading,” consider what Bill Clinton’s people said about his accusers.
“You know, here’s what’s personally degrading? ‘This is what you get when you go through a trailer park with a $100,’” Graham said during his appearance at a forum sponsored by the Atlantic.
It’s obvious he was referring to the famous line from longtime Clinton loyalist and Democratic operative James Carville, who said in 1996 of former Arkansas state clerk Paula Jones, “If you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find.”
The Atlantic Forum audience gasped at Graham’s reference to Carville. They must not remember the 1990s, or perhaps they've blocked out just how vicious the Clinton political operation became in defending his presidency from all of his sexual predations.
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On social media, the press' reaction was much of the same. Many in news media moved immediately to accuse Graham of attacking Ford, revealing their great ignorance in the process. The senator's remark was not made in reference to Ford. He was trying to argue that Trump’s remarks are small potatoes compared to what Democratic operatives did to Clinton's alleged victims.
“Sen. Lindsey Graham defends Trump's mocking of Dr. Ford: ‘Everything he said was factual ... this is what you get when you go through a trailer park with a $100 bill.’ The audience gasps,” Yahoo News said in a since-deleted tweet.
“This is nauseating,” said “award-winning investigative journalist” Lisa Guerrero.
New Republic contributor Josh Mound said in another since-deleted tweet that, “It’s impressive how he pack so much misogyny and so much elitist hatred of the poor into so few words.”
“For those confused, [Graham] is calling an assault victim a prostitute. [South Carolina] voters should throw him out in 2020,” said the Washington Post’s allegedly conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin.
U.S. News’ Paul D. Shinkman said: Graham “getting boos and hisses … for some allegory about driving through a trailer park with a $100 that I don’t understand.”
NPR politics reporter Danielle Kurtzleben tweeted (and then deleted): “Wow.” She noted later that someone had to inform her of an extremely famous saying that originated with one of Clinton’s still-very-active and prominent defenders.
Others members of media tweeted variations of "Wow," “What?” and “More WOW!”
Thankfully, Graham’s remarks didn’t go over everyone’s head. So, at least there’s that.
The best part, however, is that nearly everyone who mischaracterized Graham’s remarks did so by sharing video clip posted by a host of the uber-progressive Young Turks show. A tweet on the host's account falsely stated: “Lindsey Graham on Christine Blasey Ford: ‘This is what happens when you go through a trailer park with a $100 bill.’”
Good work, everyone!
For the record, Paula Jones maintains Bill Clinton invited her to his hotel room in 1991, where she claims he “touched her, tried to kiss her and dropped his pants and asked for oral sex.” Jones didn’t file a police report, explaining in 1998 that she was “afraid to do so because it was the State Police themselves who had just helped Mr. Clinton assault me.” She also said she didn’t file a report because Clinton had told her the head of the organization where Jones worked was his "good friend."
“What had happened to me and what Mr. Clinton had said made me afraid to file charges or a grievance,” reads the “Declaration of Paula Jones.” Clinton eventually paid $850,000 to settle Jones' lawsuit.
This entire misunderstanding has at least created an amusing result. Everyone dinging Graham for a thing he didn't actually say about Christine Ford has revealed that if you just put what Team Clinton have said into Republicans' mouths, you can get quite a reaction from the smart set.