Franklin Graham has been wrong on a lot of things in recent years. He has still firmly hitched his wagon to Donald Trump even in the face of the many outrages coming from his campaign and his administration. For instance, he claimed–with a straight face–that Trump’s disgusting comments on the “Access Hollywood” tapes didn’t matter nearly as much as the makeup of the Supreme Court. So it doesn’t matter that Trump had no problem reveling in degrading women?
Graham also thinks it really isn’t our business that Trump covered up his affair with Stormy Daniels. So by his logic, it shouldn’t concern us that the cover-up started literally days before the election–and in a manner that was unethical at best and illegal at worst. And by his logic, it shouldn’t concern us that a pro-Trump thug threatened to harm Daniels’ daughter if she didn’t keep quiet.
But Graham may have really outdone himself on Monday. He actually thought that Trump struck a blow for world peace when he openly sided with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in denying the overwhelming evidence that Russia hacked the election.
When most of the world watched Trump and Putin greet reporters after their summit in Helsinki, they saw a disgusting sight. They saw the president of the United States dismiss the overwhelming evidence that the election he won was likely tainted by a hostile foreign power–solely because the leader of that hostile foreign power denied it.
They also saw the president of the United States throw his own intelligence community under the bus. They also saw the president of the United States smear the man who is trying to get to the bottom of this attack on our democracy, special counsel Robert Mueller, for harming relations with the Kremlin.
But Graham must have been watching an entirely different press conference. That’s the only plausible explanation for this tweet he fired off soon after the press conference wrapped up.
Excuse me, Franklin? How is casually dismissing the assessment of the entire intelligence community putting “peace above politics”? How is merely taking Putin’s word for it putting “peace above politics”? How is it putting “peace above politics” to even agree to meet with Putin when several agents from his own military intelligence agency stand indicted for a massive campaign of identity theft in the name of hacking the election for Trump? And how is failing to condemn this campaign putting “peace above politics”?
In the last three-plus years, I’ve wondered how much Graham and other religious right leaders have been willing to excuse from Trump since he has made clucking noises they like on social issues. I’ve also found myself wondering if they really believe it is worth it to have a president who has promised to end abortion and roll back marriage equality in the face of Trump’s numerous outrages.
Graham makes no secret that he wants to see the end of Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges. But is he so determined to see those decisions rolled back that he is willing to excuse Trump engaging in behavior that is willfully ignorant at best and treasonous at worst? In light of this tweet, Graham owes us an answer to that question.
It’s been amply established that Graham wasn’t paying attention to the hard lesson his father, Billy, learned when he got too close to Richard Nixon. When Nixon was brought down by Watergate, the shrapnel almost took the elder Graham down as well. After that, Billy vowed never to get deeply involved in politics again.
In contrast, Franklin has had no qualms about using his father’s legacy to become a water-carrier for the right. No one can credibly deny this after seeing Franklin suggest that genuflecting before Putin is putting “peace above politics.”
In a sane world, Monday’s shameful display would have been the beginning of the end for Trump. And unless Graham takes off his MAGA hat and comes to his senses, Trump will drag him down as well.
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