Appearing on Fox & Friends Monday morning, Lindsey Graham had some words for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her progressive brethren, like Ilhan Omar, in Congress:
.@LindseyGrahamSC on Fox & Friends: "We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists … they're anti-Semitic. They're anti-America." pic.twitter.com/lsFqZi1Eu8— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 15, 2019
“We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists,” he began. “They hate Israel, they hate our own country, they're calling the guards along our borders, the border patrol agents, concentration camp guards, they accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins, they're anti-Semitic. They're anti-American.”
“Their policies will destroy our country,” he concluded.
As Dylan Williams of J Street pointed out, this rhetoric comes dangerously close to incitement:
This is incitement https://t.co/xxO1iwQOyP— Dylan Williams (@dylanotes) July 15, 2019
After all, if you're Lindsey Graham, what do you think should be done about people within your own nation who are anti-American, and who are out to “destroy” the country? He all but called them traitors, and while he'd never say the quiet part out loud, his implication couldn't be clearer, and it's the kind of thing that will be picked up by everyone watching…including, potentially, some viewers who aren't very stable.
When Ocasio-Cortez and others talk about the threats they receive on a daily basis, this is what they mean. And as AOC pointed out, those threats spike when “hateful messages” are aired on outlets like Fox News:
I don't even get to see all of them. Just the ones that have been flagged as particularly troubling.
It happens whenever Fox gets particularly aggressive + hateful, too. Young interns have to constantly hear hateful messages (far beyond disagreement) from ppl we don't even rep.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 28, 2019
This was deeply irresponsible from Graham, and while that's no surprise, it's discouraging to see politicians like him spread messages that could result in increased threats to a fellow member of Congress.
Finally, as you might imagine, Trump loved it, quoting Graham at length:
“We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of Communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own Country, they're calling the guards along our Border (the Border Patrol Agents) Concentration Camp Guards, they accuse people who support Israel as doing it for the Benjamin's,....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019