Lindsey Graham brags about endorsement by extremist who calls police 'Road Pirates'

1922

The South Carolina Republican said he and his former Constitution Party opponent 'agree on numerous issues.'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) touted the endorsement of a fringe candidate who once opposed having a standing military in the United States.

Bill Bledsoe, a South Carolina veterinarian and the U.S. Senate nominee for the far-right theocratic Constitution Party, dropped his candidacy this week and endorsed Graham's reelection.

"President Trump has asked that conservatives stand together and reelect Lindsey Graham in order to help make America great again, and I agree," Bledsoe announced.

"I appreciate Dr. Bledsoe's support," Graham responded in a press statement. "We agree on numerous issues like increasing the number of conservative judges on the bench, reducing the national debt, upholding the sanctity of life and having a strong military."

But a review of Bledsoe's previous positions reveals some extreme positions that appear to contradict Graham's "law and order" and pro-military rhetoric.

As a 2016 candidate, Bledsoe attacked police as "Law Enforcement Road Pirates." He wrote that he has a vision of America where police "can't illegally search and seize our family's cars and bank accounts on the highways" and where "Law Enforcement Officers may not break the law and violate our Civil Rights under US Constitution and the SC Constitution."

In 2017, he claimed in a video that the U.S. military was illegal.

"Under the rule of law, Congress must declare war to keep a standing army, but the good old boys once again ignore the rule of law and have created the most expensive and largest military that the world has ever seen. Yet there are no wars. And the good old boys want to give even more money to the war machine," he said.

In 2018, he complained that the federal government trains police "to think of their families and friends as 'terrorists or the enemy.' Shoot first or be shot, as if in Wartime." He also baselessly claimed the CIA was "arming Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorists, to overthrow countries" in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention.

Bledsoe has also embraced conspiracy theories about everyone from George Soros to Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Scott (R-SC).

A Graham spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story. Bledsoe could not be reached for comment.

Graham is facing a tough reelection race against Democrat Jaime Harrison. In an emailed statement on Thursday, Harrison campaign spokesperson Guy King wrote, "Voters across the political spectrum should be outraged that their senior senator gleefully embraced the endorsement of someone who so publicly peddles such bizarre, extreme views."

"From racism, to anti-semitism, to conspiracy theories about the Holocaust and racially fueled slanders against Sen. Scott, it’s horrifying that Lindsey Graham spent his day elevating this man," King continued. "Especially at this historic time of racial upheaval, Lindsey should apologize to his constituents immediately and right this wrong."

The latest polls in the race have put Graham and Harrison in a virtual tie.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.