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Lindsey Graham says young Black people ‘can go anywhere’ in South Carolina as long they are conservative

The senator said he did not believe there was systemic racism in his state during a candidate forum with the South Carolina Senate race contenders.

Lindsey Graham Getty Images

Senator Lindsey Graham said on Friday (Oct. 10) that young people of color are safe in South Carolina, as long they are not liberal. The senator was speaking at a forum for South Carolina Senate candidates, after a second scheduled debate between him and his Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison was canceled earlier in the day.

When asked a question regarding police brutality and the civil unrest in the country and the state, the senator denounced acts of violence toward minorities like the killing of George Floyd by police saying his killing “was wrong and people should pay the price,” but also said he has the “cops’ back.”

“Do I believe that our cops are systemically racist? No. Do I believe that South Carolina is a racist state? No,” the senator said at the event. “To young people out there of color, to young immigrants, this is a great state. The one thing I can say without any doubt, you can be an African American and go to the Senate. You just have to share the values of our state.”

“In South Carolina, folks, it’s not about the color of your skin or where you came from, it’s about your ideas,” the politician continued, name dropping Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, “the only African American Republican in the country” and the former governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, who is the “daughter of Indian Americans.”

“I care about everybody,” Graham said. “If you’re a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state. You just need to be conservative, not liberal.”

Graham is fighting for his Senate seat against Harrison, who is a Black former state legislator. Harrison spoke at the forum just before him after event organizers were forced to change the debate format, after Graham reportedly refused to take a Covid-19 test. Instead of a debate, they switched to back-to-back, one-on-one interviews.

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