Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of President Trump’s most vocal surrogates and an avid supporter of the president’s since the campaign’s earliest days, traveled to North Carolina on Monday to campaign for Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican facing a Democratic primary challenger, and spent the event saying that some things, “some of the good old days of segregation.”
Mr. Graham’s comments made for striking video during the campaign, but on Tuesday, Mr. Graham was keen to clarify his intentions. Mr. Graham told reporters in Raleigh, North Carolina, that his use of the word “southern” was not an explicit reference to segregation.
“I was making a generic comment,” Mr. Graham said. “There were people looking for a reason to be angry and mad because I said some things that were supposed to be offensive. I’m here to say, I don’t think it’s important to be angry at me. I think it’s important to give voice to the anger of most citizens of our country.”
Mr. Graham, who stepped down as a candidate for president last year amid his own reelection, was serving in the U.S. Air Force in 1961 when he watched on television as Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights leader, was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Mr. Graham’s comment came a day after former Vice President Joe Biden announced he was running for president.