The South Carolina senator took a trip overseas as residents in his home state faced flooding and storm damage.
As Hurricane Dorian brought flooding and power outages to South Carolina, the state's senior senator was nowhere in sight. Instead, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was 5,000 miles away visiting Croatia and Montenegro, according to the State Department.
"U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham headed a Congressional Delegation to Montenegro September 3-5," The U.S. Embassy in Montenegro announced on Wednesday. That same day, Graham was photographed with the president of Croatia, smiling in a building overlooking a gorgeous body of water with clear skies in the background.
Meanwhile, thousands of South Carolina residents lost power and homes were damaged as a pair of tornadoes touched down in North Myrtle Beach and Little River. Graham's decision to skip town as a hurricane barreled toward his home state left many officials questioning his priorities.
"Sen. Graham chose to go to Europe during a state of emergency while hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians were threatened by the impact of Hurricane Dorian," Jaime Harrison, who is challenging Graham in the 2020 election, told Shareblue Media. "He should have followed the lead of other elected officials and stood with us as we weathered the storm. His failure to come home continues his pattern of putting himself before the very people who elected him."
Even Trump canceled a planned trip to Europe to stay in the country presumably to monitor the hurricane, even though he spent last weekend golfing and yelling at people on Twitter.
"Low country taxpayers should not be paying for Senator Graham's trip to Europe during a hurricane while over 200,000 South Carolinians are still without power, including myself," state Sen. Marvin Pendarvis (D-Charleston) told Shareblue.
Pendarvis said he was "working closely with officials locally to restore power as soon as possible."
In Charleston, trees came crashing down and sparks leapt from downed power lines as rains and high winds pummeled the coastal city. More than two inches of rain fell on Wednesday, the same day Graham was photographed smiling in Croatia.
"Senator Graham knew about the potential disaster nearly a week in advance," Colleen Condon, a former Charleston country councilwoman told Shareblue. Condon said it was "expected that both senators [be] present" and that they work "directly with state and local officials in case disaster strikes."
"Every Mayor knows when a storm threatens, it's all hands on deck," said Terrence Culbreath, mayor of the town of Johnson, speaking with Shareblue.
"Every senator should know this as well," he adding, saying he expects "everyone to be present in the state in case of disaster."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.