In the midst of a heated election season, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seems to be slowly but surely distancing himself from President Donald Trump.
The latest example of possible tension was seen this weekend, as Sen. Graham made an open expression of support for NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace after the president suggested the racing star apologize for what he called a racial “hoax,” as Breitbart reported.
Trump picks a fight
Trump’s decision to weigh in on the Wallace matter appeared to many as something of an unforced error, considering he was finally starting to emerge from a very negative news cycle.
Wallace’s racing career has been relatively lackluster in terms of results, and his notoriety has stemmed more from the fact that he is currently the only Black full-time driver on the main NASCAR circuit.
He rarely garnered a great deal of media attention — particularly from mainstream outlets — until the NASCAR governing body banned the Confederate flag from its venues, and a noose was allegedly found in Wallace’s garage space at the Talledega Superspeedway in Alabama.
After conducting an investigation of the incident, the FBI determined that Wallace had not been a victim of a hate crime, and in all likelihod, the incident would have died down naturally had President Trump refrained from commenting.
The Graham enigma
That brings the story back to Sen. Graham who has appeared to be gradually divorcing himself from President Trump in recent months.
Following the president’s remarks on the Wallace controversy, Graham stepped up to argue the other side.
Sen. Graham stated, “They’re trying to grow the sport. I’ve lived in South Carolina all my life. If you’re in business, the Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business. The idea that Bubba Wallace, who is the only, I think, African American driver was upset by somebody finding a noose in the garage made perfect sense to me.”
He later added, “I don’t think Bubba Wallace has anything to apologize for. I do say this about the drivers, even though it was a noose created to hold the door open in the times in which we live there is a lot of anxiety, so what did you see?”
“You saw the best in NASCAR. When there was a chance that it was a threat against Bubba Wallace, they all rallied to Bubba’s side. I would be looking to celebrate that kind of attitude more than being worried about it being a hoax,” Sen. Graham concluded.
There is much speculation that if the president continues to dip in the polls, Republican candidates will feel the need to start separating from him in order to save their own seats, and that may be what is happening with Sen. Graham, who finds himself in the midst of a tough re-election battle against a well-funded Democratic opponent.