Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be assassinated, tweeting, “the only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country — and the world — a great service.”
Condemnations came fast and furious from colleagues on both the hard left and far right in both parties.
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted, “I really wish our members of Congress would cool it and regulate their remarks as the administration works to avoid WWIII. As the world pays attention to how the US and it’s leaders are responding, Lindsey’s remarks and remarks made by some House members aren’t helpful.”
“This is an exceptionally bad idea,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted. “Use massive economic sanctions; BOYCOTT Russian oil & gas; and provide military aid so the Ukrainians can defend themselves.”
“But we should not be calling for the assassination of heads of state,” Cruz wrote.
Even Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — who is often accused herself of being unhinged — said that Graham was off his rocker.
“While we are all praying for peace & for the people of Ukraine, this is irresponsible, dangerous & unhinged,” Greene tweeted. “We need leaders with calm minds & steady wisdom.”
“Not blood thirsty warmongering politicians trying to tweet tough by demanding assassinations,” she observed. “Americans don’t want war.”
These lawmakers are right to denounce Graham’s reckless foreign policy rhetoric, but this is sadly nothing new for the Senator.
In 2013, Graham said the U.S’s failure to strike Syria would mean America would get nuked.
“I believe that if we get Syria wrong, within six months — and you can quote me on this— there will be a war between Iran and Israel over their nuclear program,” Graham told a gathering of supporters in September 2013, according to U.S. News and World Report.
“It won’t come to America on top of a missile, it’ll come in the belly of a ship in the Charleston or New York harbor,” he added.
Luckily, the U.S. did not get into the kind of war Graham wanted with Syria, nor have nuclear weapons yet been detonated on American soil by a foreign power.
Reacting to the foreign policy portions of Obama’s 2014 State of the Union, Graham said, “The world is literally about to blow up” because in his view, Obama wasn’t being aggressive enough toward Iran and Syria.
To date, the world has not blown up, though Ukrainians at the moment might understandably disagree with this statement.
At the same time former Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned in 2012 that, “the results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world,” Graham was actively gunning for airstrikes and more. Later on, always eager for war, Graham was ready to send 20,000 U.S. troops to Syria and Iraq in 2015 to combat the Islamic State.
Just after his 2017 inauguration, President Donald Trump accused Sens. Graham and the late John McCain of “always looking to start WWIII.” Later on in August of 2017, raising the fear that the North Koreans could hit the U.S. with a nuclear missile, Graham told the Today Show, “there is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program and North Korea itself.”
He then added bits of conversation he supposedly got from a private conversation with Trump. “If there’s going to be a war to stop him, it will be over there…If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die over here — and he’s told me that to my face.”
Two years later, Graham characteristically accused Trump of “weakness” for calling off a U.S. airstrike on Iran in 2019.
No one should be surprised when Lindsey Graham says crazy things. He has done it for years and will do it again, no matter how dangerous it is for U.S. national security.