Born In: Central, South Carolina, United States
Lindsey Olin Graham is a seasoned American lawyer and politician presently holding office as Senior United States Senator from South Carolina and Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee. He obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and worked as a lawyer in private practice. Meanwhile, he joined the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1982 and served for over three-decades which included active duty as a defense attorney with JAG Corps in the USAF. He left the army as a Colonel. Graham commenced his congressional career while serving the USAF. A Republican Party member, Graham served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina’s 3rd district for four terms, and Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from the 2nd district for one term. He won the U.S. Senate seat in 2002 and was re-elected to a fourth term in 2020. In June 2015, he announced his bid for the Republican nomination for president, however dropped out before start of the 2016 Republican primaries.
Also Known As: Lindsey Olin Graham
father: Florence James Graham
mother: Millie Graham
siblings: Darline Graham Nordone
Born Country: United States
Notable Alumni: University Of South Carolina School Of Law
U.S. State: South Carolina
education: University Of South Carolina, University of South Carolina School of Law, D. W. Daniel High School
Lindsey Olin Graham was born on July 9, 1955, in Central, South Carolina, to Millie (Walters) and Florence James "F.J." Graham. He and his family lived in a single room behind Sanitary Café, a liquor store/restaurant/bar/pool hall run by his parents.
He graduated from D. W. Daniel High School and thereafter enrolled at the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and with this became first member of his family who attended college.
He lost his mother to Hodgkin's lymphoma when he was 21 years old. Fifteen months later, his father succumbed to a heart attack. As his sister Darline Graham Nordone was just 13 years old at that time, the service permitted him to study at the University of South Carolina in Columbia so that he could stay near his home and raise his sister. He eventually became her legal guardian.
While studying, he became a member of Pi Kappa Phi. He obtained a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina in 1977, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1981.
In 1982, he commenced active duty in the USAF after being commissioned as an officer in the JAG Corps. He first served as an Air Force defense attorney. From 1984 to 1988, he served as Air Force's chief prosecutor in Europe after being transferred to Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt.
He later returned to South Carolina where he left active duty in 1989 and began working as a lawyer in private practice. From 1988 to 1992, he worked as assistant county attorney for Oconee County and from 1990 to 1994 he held office as city attorney for Central.
From 1989 to 1995, Graham served the South Carolina Air National Guard. Thereafter he joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was called for active duty again at the time of the 1990–91 Gulf War. This time he held office as a judge advocate at McEntire Air National Guard Station.
He was elevated as lieutenant colonel in 1998 and became a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 2004. He had a short stint as a reservist on active duty in Iraq in 2007 and also performed reserve duty in Afghanistan during Senate recess in August 2009. His meritorious service in the capacity of a senior legal adviser to the Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan between August 2009 and July 2014, led him to receive a Bronze Star medal in 2014. He retired from the Air Force as a Colonel in 2015.
Graham got elected as Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from the 2nd district in 1992 and served from January 12, 1993 to January 3, 1995.
In 1994 he was elected as Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina’s 3rd district. With this he emerged as the first Republican who represented the district since 1877.He assumed office on January 3, 1995, and was re-elected in 1996, 1998 and 2000. He held office till January 3, 2003.
Graham and seventeen other Republican members of the U.S. House joined Republican congressman Bob Barr as co-sponsors of a resolution introduced by Barr in November 1997 to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Bill Clinton. Following the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal and around a month after release of a Starr Report that mainly focused on the sex scandal, on October 8, 1998, an impeachment inquiry was launched against Clinton. It was initiated by a vote of the United States House of Representatives. The Judiciary Committee that conducted the inquiry included Graham. He voted in support of 3 of the 4 articles of impeachment in the Judiciary Committee vote. He became the only Republican on the committee who voted against one of the articles of impeachment when he joined with Democrats and voted against the second count of perjury in the Paula Jones case. Two of the impeachment articles were passed by the U.S. House. The impeachment trial started in the U.S. Senate on January 7, 1999, with Graham serving as an impeachment manager and ended with acquittal of Clinton on February 9, 1999.
Graham won the 2002 United States Senate election in South Carolina, the first open Senate election held there since 1966, as the long-time Republican incumbent Strom Thurmond decided not to run for re-election. Since Thurmond originally got elected as a Democrat and later switched parties in 1964, Graham’s win led him to become the first non-incumbent Republican Senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction. He was re-elected in 2008, 2014 and 2020.
He garnered criticism from Tea Party for his readiness to be bipartisan and work with Democrats on matters like tax reform, campaign finance reform, immigration reform and climate change; and for his stance that philosophical positions of judicial nominees should not be the only reason for opposing them. He was the only Senate Republican in 2009 and one of the five Senate Republicans in 2010 who voted in favour of President Obama's Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan respectively. He argued for a more inclusive Republican Party and censured the Tea Party movement in this regard.
He advocates for an aggressive interventionist foreign policy and a robust national defense and opposes budget cut on defense spending. In December 2010, he voted against ratification of the New START treaty between the US and the Russian Federation. He supported the NATO-led 2011 military intervention in Libya and the 2015 Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen; and opposed the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
After the then US President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States on July 9, 2018, on July 30, college professor Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during their high school days. Graham took a strong stance during the 2018 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and opposed further delaying of the process because of Ford's allegations. He spoke in Kavanaugh's defense and voted for Kavanaugh after the latter testified before the committee. The Senate eventually voted 50–48 to confirm nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Graham was made chair of the Judiciary Committee in 2019.
He suggested that the US forces remain in Afghanistan for good which would be advantageous for both the countries. After Joe Biden became US President, his administration reviewed the Doha Agreement, signed by the US and the Taliban during Trump administration to end the War in Afghanistan, and decided to withdraw all remaining US troops from Afghanistan. Graham strongly opposed it. However, before the US completed its full evacuation, the Taliban insurgency intensified to a great extent leading to the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15, 2021. Graham criticised Biden’s decision as a "disaster in the making”.
On June 1, 2015, Graham officially announced his bid for the Republican nomination for president. On July 20, while giving an interview on CNN, he called Donald Trump, another presidential candidate for the 2016 election, a "jackass" as Trump criticized his close friend, Senator John McCain. Graham later suspended his campaign on December 21 and dropped out prior to the 2016 Republican primaries. He however remained a fierce critic of Trump's 2016 candidacy. He mentioned that he did not support Trump and even urged other Republicans to un-endorse Trump. During the November 2016 presidential election, Graham voted for independent candidate Evan McMullin. Graham however became a prominent supporter and ally of Trump following a March 2017 meeting with the latter. Graham would many a time issue public statements defending Trump. He also mentioned in April 2018 that he would support re-election of Trump in 2020.
Following Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 United States presidential election, Trump refused to concede defeat, made false claims of voting fraud, and attempted to overturn the election. Graham endorsed Trump’s claims and stated that the latter "should not concede". He mentioned that he made a donation of $500,000 to Trump's election lawsuits in different states. On November 13, 2020, while the recount of the 2020 United States presidential election in Georgia was ongoing, Graham even privately called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and mentioned about the possibility of invalidating ballots. The following January Trump made an hour-long conference call to Raffensperger, who recorded the call. In February 2021, Fani Willis, the Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney started a criminal investigation into both the phone calls as part of a criminal investigation to probe whether efforts were made to illegally overturn Georgia's election results.
During Trump’s second impeachment trial that started on February 9, 2021 and concluded with his acquittal on February 13, Graham voted not guilty. Graham eventually accepted the results of the 2020 United States presidential election on May 17, 2021. On May 28, he voted against formation of the January 6 commission to investigate the State Capitol attack.
Graham is a bachelor and has no children. A Southern Baptist, Graham resides in Seneca, South Carolina and is a member of the Corinth Baptist Church.
On August 8, 2021, he became the first senator who was tested positive for for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated.
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