Since Trump’s right-leaning Supreme Court nuked Roe v. Wade, much of the country has been up in arms. Turns out destroying the right to safe and legal abortions is incredibly unpopular! It might have even torpedoed the GOP’s attempt to flip the House and/or Senate. But Lindsey Graham — who as recently as last month vowed to leave the matter to individual states — came up with a cunning plan: double-down by threatening to ban abortions at the federal level. Alas, it looks like he might not have run this one by any other party leaders.
Graham’s proposal isn’t a total abortion ban; it “only” prohibits them after 15 weeks, just barely into the second trimester. On Tuesday, he held a press conference about it, where he vowed to hold a vote for the abortion plan should Republicans reclaim the Senate. He seemed confident that the plan, when fully revealed, would do “really well” with the American public.
Thing is, others in his party not only didn’t seem to agree; they didn’t seem to have any idea what he was talking about. Take Mitch McConnell, who squirmed when asked about Graham’s abortion ban plan, then said, “I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level.”
McConnell is asked about Lindsey Graham’s abortion ban pic.twitter.com/f2yQ3cX42u
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 13, 2022
Texas Senator John Cornyn — hardly a fount of progressive politics — tried to distance himself and other GOP members from the high-ranking Graham. “That wasn’t a conference decision. It was an individual senator’s decision,” he said. “There’s obviously a split of opinion in terms of whether abortion law should be decided by the states, which is my preference … and those who want to set some sort of minimum standard.” Still, he concluded, “I would keep an open mind on this but my preference would be for those decisions to be made on a state-by-state basis.”
West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito was also baffled. “I don’t think there’s an appetite for a national platform here. My state, today, is working on this,” she said, as per Politico. “I’m not sure what he’s thinking here. But I don’t think there will be a rallying around that concept,” she said concluding, “I don’t think there’s much of an appetite to go that direction.”
Politico also reported that Joe O’Dea, Senate candidate for Colorado, outright torched, while trying to slam the sitting president in the same breath, of course. “I don’t support Senator Graham’s bill,” he said. “A Republican ban is as reckless and tone deaf as is Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer’s hostility to compromise.”
At least Graham had one semi-defender: controversial Georgia Senate candidate Herchel Walker. He offered a predictably sloppy take, saying, “I believe the issue should be decided at the state level, but I would support this policy.”
While formally presenting his instantly divisive federal abortion ban plan, Graham got really testy, complaining about Democrats who’ve pointed out Republicans’ draconian plan to destroy abortion. “You’re going around calling all of us every name you can think of — we’re a bunch of wackos,” he said. “Your idea’s wacko, not ours.”
Lindsey Graham’s abortion ban news conference ended with a devastating question from a woman who experienced complications during pregnancy pic.twitter.com/UHi0XtmA2R
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 13, 2022
In short, don’t call Graham names because he may take an already unpopular idea that’s tanking his party and make it even worse.