Lindsey Graham says he can’t remember why he voted against Hurricane Sandy relief

When Hurricane Sandy blew through the East Coast in late 2012, every member of South Carolina’s congressional delegation except one — Jim Clyburn — voted to withhold relief funds. That includes both of the state’s senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott.

Now, with South Carolina facing widespread flooding and wind damage from Hurricane Joaquin, Lindsey Graham would like some federal aid, please.

From CNN:

Lindsey Graham, screenshot via YouTube

Lindsey Graham, screenshot via YouTube

“Let’s just get through this thing, and whatever it costs, it costs,” Graham told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” on Monday of the devastating floods in his home state.

Graham was among the Republican senators who opposed a federal aid package in January 2013 to assist states hit by Hurricane Sandy, but now he doesn’t remember why.

“I’m all for helping the people in New Jersey. I don’t really remember me voting that way,” Graham said.

Pressed further, he said: “Anyway, I don’t really recall that, but I’d be glad to look and tell you why I did vote no, if I did.”

Well, I don’t really remember a time when the “I don’t really remember” defense held any water. Especially when Lindsey Graham could have whipped out his phone during the interview and looked up how he voted on Sandy Relief funds in a matter of seconds. If he’s not sure how the Internet works, here’s how you do it:

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While I wasn’t able to find Graham’s specific statement on why he opposed Sandy funds in 2013, CNN notes that “Many Republicans opposed the $51 billion Sandy relief package in 2013 because they said it included too much spending on unrelated programs,” which if Graham really believes, he’s more than welcome to say. A slightly more likely reason is that Hurricane Sandy hit in a state that wasn’t his a week before a presidential election at a time when being pro-anything as a Republican guarantees a primary challenge.

In any case, an answer to the effect of “I’m for it now, and if I was against it then, well, whatever” is not a good look. It’s literally the opposite of a secret that he opposed aid to New Jersey while fighting for aid to his state, so if he wants to be anything other than the bad guy in this story, he’d better have a damn good reason why that’s the case. Claiming that he doesn’t remember his vote, and that he’s “all for” helping New Jersey now that no money is actually on the line, because he, “[tries] to be there for friends and neighbors, so [I] hope they’ll be there for us,” is only one step removed from claiming that he cast his no vote by accident.

Boo this man:

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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13 Responses to “Lindsey Graham says he can’t remember why he voted against Hurricane Sandy relief”

  1. gratuitous says:

    Whatever Sen. Graham’s rationale for not helping with Sandy relief, it’s telling that in talking about South Carolina, he said, “Whatever it costs, it costs,” meaning that he wasn’t too concerned about the debt or the deficit or the military going without a high-tech weapons system that doesn’t work. No, he wanted all the moneys for South Carolina while telling other disaster victims to go fish.

    There’s a word for that kind of behavior, and it’s not a pretty one Senator.

  2. mrose4243 says:

    ‘people who deserve help’ – I wonder how he decides? Doesn’t sound like Lindsey is depending on private charity for HIS state. I do not believe what Lindsey Graham believes, obviously. ;)

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  4. MoonDragon says:

    No, I’m suggesting that People like Lindsay believe that private charity should suffice unless it’s people he thinks deserve help can’t find people with money to provide charity; then the government can pick up the tab. I was contrasting two icons of the music of the regions affected and the audiences to which they appeal. There was also a clumsy allusion to the hypocrisy described by Orwell in Animal Farm.

  5. mrose4243 says:

    So what you’re saying is the Northeast should beg from rock stars and ‘elites’ and the Southeast should get a government handout, because they are more worthy? Have I got this right? Also, what does Charlie Daniels have to do with it? Did he give money to the south? I’m SO confused!

  6. MoonDragon says:

    Everyone is worthy of help, but some people are more worthy than others.

  7. BeccaM says:

    I remember very clearly the GOPer reasons given, and they echo the post here, as well what Houndentenor and Naja Pallida said:
    – So-called “unrelated spending”, even though a lot of it was to help mitigate against future disasters
    – They were trying (as usual) for cuts to social programs and to defund the PPACA, as offsets
    – Yeah, the impact was primarily in ‘blue’ states, and by time we’d gotten to the Sandy recovery aid, it was becoming increasingly clear the Republicans just don’t believe or care about a UNITED States

    And I’d add one more: Obama was president at the time, and they couldn’t stand the idea of people being helped by the government at all while a Democrat (and that one especially) was in the White House.

    The GOPers were called out for their hypocrisy then, and again after, and again now.

  8. Indigo says:

    “I don’t remember,” said Ronald Reagan 124 times to the Iran Contra Hearings on December 2, 1986.

  9. 2karmanot says:

    Aunti Lindseybelle had the vapars that day and was unavailable to lunch. Just can’t remember, now bring me another Julip Beulah.

  10. 2karmanot says:


  11. Houndentenor says:

    Because he’s a right-wing sociopath. There’s no concern or any pretense of concern about anything that doesn’t affect him directly. Hurricane Sandy only affected people in NY, NJ and CT. “Who gives a fuck about them?” And of course they don’t have to fear retribution because Democrats will not vote down aid for SC because empathy and compassion. It’s why overall the red states are takers in our system while voting against the very programs that they’d starve without.

  12. Naja pallida says:

    In the run up to the vote on Hurricane Sandy relief, Lindsey Graham repeatedly talked about offsetting the cost with spending cuts elsewhere. But really, his vote was because he’s a sheep. One of those Republicans who constantly hovers on the verge of being labeled as too moderate to exist. He doesn’t actually have any opinions of his own, he votes how he is told, so he doesn’t ever get threatened from the right of his seat. I’m sure he saw how Chris Christie was being attacked for daring look as if he was working with a Democrat on the issue, and cowered back to his little sad corner.

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