During an interview with CNN on Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was asked if he’s concerned about recent reports that President Trump has been privately questioning whether a recording of him bragging about groping women is legitimate and that he remains interested in racist conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birth certificate.
Instead of answering, Graham tried to turn the tables and attacked the media for reporting about those issues in the first place.
“You know what concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook not fit to be president,” Graham said.
The notion that Trump is “some kind of kook not fit to be president” isn’t merely a media creation, however. Graham himself used those exact same words to criticize Trump during a Fox News interview in February 2016, back when he was supporting Jeb Bush.
“I’m not gonna try to get into the mind of Donald Trump, because I don’t think there’s a whole lot of space there,” Graham said back then. “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”
The juxtaposition between what Graham said then and what he said on Thursday was highlighted in a video compiled by Deadspin editor Timothy Burke, who characterized it as representative of “Republicans’ mind-blowing hypocrisy in their attempt to attack the media.”
While Graham wasn’t interested in criticizing Trump’s renewed interest in birtherism or the legitimacy of the so-called “Access Hollywood tape” on Thursday, he did criticize Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British account the day before.
“I want to help him every way I can to defend the country, cut taxes, build up our infrastructure and do something to replace Obamacare,” Graham said. “At the end of the day the only way I can be helpful to the president is to be honest and honestly, Mr. President, embracing this website was a step backward not forward.”