tv Senator Lindsey Graham Town Hall CSPAN March 10, 2017 4:55pm-6:21pm EST
undersecretary of state for global affairs in the bush administration and senior fellow at harvard university's future of diplomacy project. >> you say there was considerable continuity in how the world worked during this period. describe that. >> a lot of the structures of the world such as it was was based on this idea of sovereignty, the idea that borders were significant, that they defined nation states, countries and that there was a deal out there, that we won't try to change your borders by force if you don't change ours. >> sunday night on "waff words." >> senator graham held a town hall last saturday and took several questions from constituents on republican efforts to replace the health care law. the state of public education
and possible russian involvement in the 2016 elections. his is an hour and a half. [applause] senator graham: we are going to be done to go to the baseball game where it starts at 1:00. i'll make a comment about the latest tweet. have you seen it? >> yeah. senator graham: president trump tweeted out that he believes that president obama ordered wiretapping of his campaign. [laughter] senator graham: and that would be -- yes. i don't know what happened but i can only tell you the summary of the tweet. the president of the united states is claiming that the former president of the united states ordered wiretapping of his campaign last year. i don't know if it's true or it but if it is true --
would be the biggest political scandal since watergate. chanting] senator graham: just be quiet. be quiet. if the former president of the united states was able to obtain a warrant lawful if ily to monitor trump's campaign, that would be the biggest scandal since watergate. here's the deal as we get ready to talk to each other. i'm very worried. i'm very worried that our president is suggesting that the former president has done something illegal. i would be very worried, if in fact, the obama administration was able to obtain a warrant lawfulfully about trump campaign
activity with a foreign government. so it's my job as a united states senator to get to the bottom of this. i promise you i will. [cheers and applause] senator graham: all right, questions. [inaudible] >> louder. senator graham: you want me to talk louder? i'll do it. put the video up. indiscernible] >> this question is from westminster. senator graham: where's andrea? >> are you going to push for a russian investigation and not just support one. everyone's involvement in russia eeds to be investigated.
[cheers and applause] senator graham: i'm not only going to push for an investigation but going to punish russia for trying to interfere in our election. [cheers and applause] senator graham: i have introduced sanctions to punish the putin regime. these are bipartisan sanctions hat would hit putin hard for interfering in our election. how about you let me finish my question. i believe with all my heart and soul that the russians did interfere in our elections. it wasn't a 4-00 pound man sitting on a bed somewhere, but russian intelligence services hacked into po december ta's emails and d.n.c. and they gave
that information to wikileaks and it was leaked out during the course of the campaign. that to me needs to be punished. any republican here? we should be as upset about this as any democrat because anything that can happen to one party from a foreign power can happen to the other party. as to the outcome, i'm not suggesting it change the outcome, only that they interfered and it needs to be punished. as for the trump campaign. inspector,the f.b.i. and we'll be holding a hearing, we're going to explain to you and the world what russia does to democracies all over the world. their toolbox and how they use it. we're going to do two things. we're going to explain to the world what russia does to try to break the back benn of democracy
including ours. we're going to make a case why they should be sanctioned. as to trump-russia campaign ties. i have no evidence personally that there are any, but i will insist that the f.b.i. be given full opportunity to look into this without political interference. [applause] ok, next question. >> this question is from emily chandler. mily would you stand up? sen. graham: did you need anything -- need anything else? you're good? ok, who is this? >> this is from emily chandler. sen. graham: emily, where are you at, emily? hey, hemly. >> her question is, given the 2016 south carolina presidential
election results, what are your plans to ensure all donald trump's policies and agendas are implemented. sen. graham: here's what i'm going to do, i'm going to try to help our president, donald trump, be as successful as possible, number one because i agree with him mostly and i'd like to get this country moving again. boo] no. i want to replace obamacare because i think it's broken. gorsacho ut judge then supreme court because i think he's qualified. i want to cut your taxes because we need to. i want to rebuild our military because it's broken. i want to build the keystone pipeline to get oil from canada.
o you don't have to buy. [cheers and applause] sen. graham: so what have you learned, i'm a conservative, damn proud of it, i'm going to help trump where i can. the rest of you who voted for clinton should want him to succeed too. >> this question is pr pauline roberts from westminster. sen. graham: sit down. this guy -- all right, go ahead. go ahead. >> this question is from pauline roberts from westminster. pauline would you please stand up? we need affordable health care what will you do to make sure that middle class people can afford health care. sen. graham: that's the key question. who asked the question?
>> pauline roberts. sen. graham: all right. ok. how many of you are on medicare? whoa. all of you on medicare? ok. how many of you like it? all right. let's keep it. how about it. all right. how many of you are below 65? below 65. you can't be raising your hand twice. how many of you have insurance through your company? how many of you like it? >> better than nothing. sen. graham: how many of you have problems getting insurance. so here's the deal. there's three ways to get insurance from the government. medicare, medicaid, v.a. through your employer. or as an individual.
so what would i like to see happen? i'd like to see medicare saved because it's going broke. i'd like to make sure that employers can continue to offer your health care so it doesn't get so expensive they have to drop it. here's my problem with obamacare. we're down to one health care company in south carolina. why? has anybody here lost their coverage from their employer? here's what i think is going to happen if we don't fix it. if we don't fix it, those of you who raised your hand, that get your coverage through your company, they're going to drop it because it would be easier to pay the fine than it will be to cover you. because the cost has gone up 27%. how many of you -- how many of you would like to keep your
company health care? all right, that's a good question. how many of you want single payer health care coverage? [applause] sen. graham: don't vote for me because i think that's a lousy idea. so here's what we're going to do. here's why we're going to replace obamacare. employers -- affordable health care act. employers are going to drop coverage and everybody that work farce company will go into a state exchange. we're down to one company. you'll have no choice. i'll tell you what, you're going to get kicked out in about 30 seconds if you don't shut up. >> because i'm telling the truth. sen. graham: no, because you're rude. how many want to kick this guy out? get him out of here. get him out of here. so here we go. all right. so how many want competition?
when it comes to health care? how many of you are upset with the v.a. taking too long. no profit in health care? here's my view. i don't want the whole country -- i don't want the whole country to be in a v.a. system where you have to wait forever and get what the government gives you whenever they decide you want it. that's not what i go for. so we're going to replace obamacare with more private sector health care, be able to buy health care all over the country. >> this question is from shelly stewart from green vivel -- greenville, south carolina. she asks, what are you doing bout law enforcement's pardoning of african-americans. sen. graham: have you been talking about the f.b.i.? do you know anybody that has? because they're black.
give me their names. i met with the -- i met with the -- i met with the f.b.i. director yesterday. i've never had anybody -- i never had anybody come up to me in south carolina who is african-american to tell me they've been talking -- targeted by the f.b.i. because of their color. so i don't believe that's a problem. if you've got any examples -- all right. > this question is from dave and lindsay. this question is from james and lindsay fable. ill you please stand up?
grip have you been targeted by this the f.b.i. because you're frican-american? >> sir. thank you for coming today. i believe the question was about the police, not the f.b.i. how do we know that? so the question is about african-americans being targeted by the police like i have in the ast. sen. graham: the question is racial profiling. anyone know tim scott? i didn't ask if you liked him. i ask if you know him. he's african-american senator. he says he's been stopped eight or 10 times by the capitol hill police.
i've been up there 20 years, i've never been stopped by the capitol hill police. i think that's your point, isn't it? yeah. so here's the deal with policing. got to be tough on a good day. we need to be sensitive to the fact that communities feel under siege by the cops. we need to be sensitive to the idea that cops feel under siege and find some orderly process to enforce the law. but i've never been stopped. >> you're white! sen. graham: if you'll just listen to the end of this. i've never been stopped because - i'm a short white guy. the cops seem not to be stopping me but they do seem to be stopping tim. so let's talk about the cops for a minute. i've been a prosecutor most of my life. i dealt with cops. and there's nothing worse than a bad cop.
you know why a bad cop is a bad deal? because they've got a badge and a gun. there's nothing better than a good cop. so the bottom line is, i hope we will take a harder look at this. i'm sorry, i thought you said about the f.b.i. go around to the police chief in south carolina and try to do more community policing. better training. better training for our police officers. spend a little bit of money making sure that, because you've got a young black guy walking around in the neighborhood in the middle of the night doesn't mean they're a . there you go. >> this question is from james and lindsay zable. as a -- as a south carolinian i was happy to hear you speak out but trump's russian ties
your voting record doesn't reflect that when can we expect to see that change. sen. graham: i'm the chief author of legislation to punish russians for interfering in our election and my chief co-sponsor is ben cardin from the state of maryland. that bill needs to be voted on this year. i just got back from france and germany and russia is all other their elections. what are they trying to do? they're trying to break the backbone of democracy. vladimir putin is a thug and people who object to him, people who object to him, they don't come to town halls and yell because they'll get shot. the people who disagree with him wind up getting plutonium poison, i've never had a friend of mine die from plutonium poisoning. the duma, their equivalent of congress is a complete joke. he's destroyed the indepevent media and broken the back of the
independent judiciary. i was in the in the baltics about two months ago with senator mccain. lithuania, estonia and the other baltic nation that i can't remember right now. georgia and the ukraine are all under siege by putin. here's what the russians are trying to do. they're trying to break the back of nato, the european union, hey're trying to get their candidate elected in france, they want to withdraw from nato and the e.u., five-star party in i think -- so -- i've introduced legislation to punish the russians and here's what i predict will happen. that the congress in a bipartisan fashion will pass my bill. they'll punish the russians for interfering in our elections and trying to break the backs of democracies all over the world. if we forgive and forget putin, then he will keep doing it all
over the world and if you don't -- [inaudible] >> this question is from janie shipley of seneca. please discuss your position on allowing pharmaceutical companies to claim a drug is safe and effective for a use that has not been approved by f.d.a. these off-label uses contribute to more than 50% increase in side effects compared to on-label use. sen. graham: that's a really good question, i don't know if i understand the answer to it. i don't want to take drugs not approved by the f.d.a. i'd like the f.d.a. to be more efficient when it gets drugs to the market. the more generics the better. generics lower the cost if they're safe. who has -- who asked that question? what's her name? >> janie shipley from seneca.
sen. graham: can i do something that you don't hear much of? i really don't know if i gave you a good answer. let me get smarter and get back to you. >> this question is from mitch from seneca. how does your bill to defund the u.n. help the people of south carolina? sen. graham: well -- [cheers and applause] sen. graham: good question. i'm an internationalist. i believe that america should lead from the front, not behind. i don't mind being part of the u.n. i'd like a place to go to resolve our differences without killing each other. the problem with the u.n. and israel is getting out of hand. here's my belief about the state of israel. it's the only democracy in the middle east, it is not without fault, but it is our ally and we should jealously guard the rellingsship with israel because the people want to destroy her, want to destroy you. there have been 20 resolutions passed by the united nations condemning the state of israel for their settlement policies and six against the world at
large. i think that nuts. that is disproportionate. and i'm not going to take any more of your taxpayer dollars and give it to the u.n. because i think it's get manager anti-semitic. so it helps south carolina not to invest in a body that is anti-semitic. >> the question from emily from simpsonville, south carolina. i am concerned about the threat to american democracy. what is being done to ensure the diplomatic process? sen. graham: that's a good question. have you been following the last 10 years? we've been at war for 15 years, right. i've been to iraq and afghanistan 4 times. remember september 10, 2001? probably don't but, you know, it's the day before 9/11. we didn't have one soldier in afghanistan. we didn't have an embassy and didn't give the taliban one dime. and the world watched from the
sidelines as women were drug to the soccer stadium and shot for sport because they showed a little too much ankle. the great statues of buddha were blown up because ethese nut jobs, the taliban, believed any image is wrong. and we watched and did nothing and thought, that's every there, it won't come here. but what you didn't real ithize is the taliban offered lane safe haven in afghanistan. he was their honored guest and 9/11, the rest is history. so what have i learned? what have i learned? that the people who attack us like al qaeda, have a religious motivation. it's not because of palestine. it's because they've got a warped view of islam that makes them want to kill everybody in this room. here's what i believe. you may be tired of fighting you but they're not tired of fighting you. here's my goal, to keep the war over there so it doesn't come
back here. and you'll never -- you'll never win this war, you'll never win this war -- we'll talk about the saudis. you'll never win this war by killing terrorists. now, you're talking about a guy -- so to the republicans in the room, if you want to destroy radical islam, you better invest in the lives of others over there. because he can drop bombs all day long, i've lost good friends in this war. many of them afghan and iraqi policemen and lawyers and judges that i worked with as a reservist, 40 times in the last decade, 40 days on the ground as an air force reservist. here's what i know it's going to take to win this war. you've got to invest in those lives of others to be safe here. the terrorists are offering a
glorious death we have to offer a hopeful life. [cheers and applause] area olhouse, in a remote of after gab stan or syria, would do more damage if it educated a young girl than any bomb. here's what you're going to get from me about diplomacy. this budget being proposed by president trump who i want to help cuts the state department by 25%. here's what i will tell you. if you want this war to go on forever, bomb them and leave. if you think you're going to be safe by dropping a bomb and coming back home, you'll never be safe. here's what you've got to do in my opinion. you've got to have some of our soldiers over there to protect the rest of us here but it's not about them killing terrorists as much as it is about them helping build up police and armies. and if you don't advance the
lives of others over there, this war never ends. what does winning look like? here's what winning looks like. when the people over there have police and armies loyal to them, not to the dictator. when the imams over there can preach against this radical form of islam and not get killed. when the politicians over there, let's go to saudi arabia, when a woman can drive over there, you're going to be safer over here. [applause] >> this question is from emily from salem. why can't the senate demand trump release his taxes? cheers and applause] sen. graham: where is she at? emily? where are you at, emily? where are you at? ok.
trump tax returns. there you are. trump tax returns. we can subpoena his tax returns. [applause] sen. graham: emily. i will do that when i believe there's a reason to do that. i've introduced -- in the process of introducing legislation to require anybody running for president in 2020 to release their taxes. how many of you believe benghazi was a bunch of b.s.? i thought so. ok. >> this question is from alisa
from greenville. sen. graham: i didn't know there were that many liberals. which is great. i'm glad you're here. you need to speak up more in outh carolina. >> what will you do to protect affordable health care and other sport programs for people with disabilities -- other support programs for people with disabilities. sen. graham: if you are disabled, come to my office and you'll get disability insurance through medicaid. ok. i don't know when you went but we're open five days a week. for the disabled, you're eligible for medicaid if you -- if the judge says you're disabled. once you're 65, you're eligible for medicare, no matter if you're bill gates or my aunt who worked in the cotton mill. can we talk a little bit about medicare. does anyone want to talk about
medicare? so the disabled have health insurance through medicaid and the medicaid disability insurance program is just about too run out of money. can i tell you a little bit about what i think is the biggest financial problem for everybody in this room? in 1950, how many people paid taxes for every social security resip yept? do you know? 16. so today there are three workers for every retiree. again if you're retired, raise your hand. so there's three people now paying into the system. in 20 years, there'll be two. how can this be? i'm the guy screwing it up. i'm not married and i don't have any kids. we live longer. the average age, the average age of a -- of retirement is 65, right? that's when you become -- >> no, 70 now. sen. graham: 65 for medicare and 62 you can get early retirement.
in 1935, the average person lived to be 65. today we're living into our 80's. more people are living like strom thurmond than used to live like 1935. so all the liberals and conservatives in this room, here's the one thing i can tell you. if you don't get a bipartisan plan to save medicare and social security, they're going to fail -- like going to ronald reagan, ronald reagan and tip o'neill, adjusted the age of retirement in 1983 from 65 to 67 and it saved social security. to those who believe you can save medicare and social security by taxing the wealthy, let me tell you this unfunded liability is $70 trillion. we made $70 trillion of promises we don't have the money for. if you took all the money of the 1% in the country, including their dogs, that's $30 trillion.
half of what you need. now one last thing and we'll get the next question. to my republican friends -- to my republican friends, to my republican friends who think you can grow the economy and close that $70 trillion gap, it is impossible. here's what has to happen. have you heard of simpson-bowles? we need to do something like that. we need to adjust the age of retirement for younger people, give them decades to retire a little later. i make $175,000. i'm not saying i'm worth it, but that's what we get paid. i should pay, here's what i think. i should pay more medicare than i'm paying today. i don't think i should be getting any subsidies from the government to pay my medicare premiums. and i will say that to anybody who makes $175,000. when it comes to social security, i'm 61. i'll get it when i'm 65, 66, i guess now.
i would gladly give up whatever it takes for me to give up to make sure that people who need it more than i do get it. let me tell you why. i was -- i was born -- i was born in central, anybody ever been to central? when i was 21, i was living in central, going to carolina, the first in my family to go to college. my mom was 52. she was diagnosed with hodgkins disease. she died a year later and we were financially wiped out because we had insurance covering four people. 15 months later, my dad who was 69 died. my sister was 13, i was 22. if it weren't for an aunt and uncle in seneca, south carolina who worked in the cotton mills, i don't know what i would have done. we moved in, me and my sister, i finished college, we got a social security survivor benefit check from social security about
$300 that made the real difference for us. i'm 61, soon to be 62. i can get by without what's being promised to me in social security. when i was 22 i needed every penny. i'm here to tell you, i've seen social security on both ends. you want to save america, young people have to work a little longer and people on my income have to pay more and give up some and i will. >> this question is from carrie brooks from central. do you consider access to quality health care a right or a privilege? what will you do to protect the gains in access to health care that were made with the affordable care act. sen. graham: i think every american should have access to quality health care. here's what i'm against. every time you get sick you run to the emergency room and i have to pay the bill. that's called medicaid. i think medicaid is the most broken thing in the world. here's what i want to do with medicaid. i want to get everybody in
medicaid into a private health care home and manage -- a managed care environment and i don't want you to run to the emergency room, i want you to go to your doctor. i'll gladly help pay the bill. but i'm telling everybody in this room, when it comes to health care, if you smoke you need to pay more. the only way we're going to provide quality health care is to have more choices, not less. i think you should be able to buy health care anywhere in the country, not just south carolina. and let me tell you, when it comes to medicaid, it's fee for service, it's about a bankrupt the state of south carolina. what i would do all over the country is take every medicaid patient, put them in a managed care environment, have the federal government give some money to the state if they deliver better health care. that's what i would do. the last thing i'm going to do is take every patient in the country and let the federal government give them health care and manage health care. if you want to destroy health care go to the socialized medicine model.
over my dead body. all right. >> this question is from emily from greer. given betsy devos' stance on public education and education funding, how can we ensure that all students are able to receive a quality education. en. graham: great. it any of you believe matters. you want to the same policies even though you lost. for the last eight years we've had policies that i don't agree with but obama had the right to enact. how many people went to public education? me too. how many believe that public education will be better if you ust throw more money at it?
how many of you believe that public education is never going to get better until it's shaken up? that's what a i believe. i believe in charter schools. nibble choice. - i believe in choice. i believe for choice in people who are caught in bad schools. every one of you booing went to a good school, you have no idea what it's like to go to a school that's -- [inaudible] >> this question from mark from greenville. what is your position on foreign aid assistance, specifically for poverty reduction and international development plans? mr. graham: we need a icrophone.
>> [inaudible] mr. graham: hurry up, hurry up. time's running. provide here? ok. questioner: you may know me. my name is tara. i created the online petition today to get you here. i created the online petition that had over 5,000 south carolina residents to get you here today. mr. graham: oh. [cheers and applause] i'm here. questioner: i would like to thank you for coming. before i ask you my question or my statement, i am a public school educator. first and foremost, i would like for everybody here that is a south carolina resident to lease stand. mr. graham: good, all voters. questioner: i want to prove to
the people and the media that the people of south carolina are here, we're representing, we're showing up and we're not from another state. mr. graham: i agree with. that cheers and applause] >> we're not paid! questioner: we're not paid protesters. mr. graham: no. [cheers and applause] questioner: but one of the reasons i am here today is to ask but education. mr. graham: right. questioner: over the past several weeks, the people of south carolina flooded your office with phone calls, emails, tweets and even in person office visits. about the nomination of betsy devos. mr. graham: right. questioner: a candidate so unqualified for her position that the vice president of the united states had to cast the historic deciding vote. the people of south carolina
wanted you to be the one who stood on your own and said no. cheers and applause] only one more vote was needed. so my question to you is this, senator graham. why would you vote for someone who wants to dismantle the public school system by providing vouchers to those who want to attend private school, while essentially dismantling the entire public school system in the process, the same system in which yourself were educated? [cheers and applause] mr. graham: all right. i got your question. questioner: south carolina has long suffered from a lack of state and local investment in education. mr. graham: all right. [cheers and applause] thank you. questioner: so please explain to us how providing vouchers for private schools with public funds will help students who need it the most.
mr. graham: great question. all right. [cheers and applause] here's what you need to realize. here's what you need to realize. that i did go to public school. but the vast majority of people in my state don't believe with your approach to education, where all you need is more money. here's what i think you need. i think you need funding. if money could -- right. if money could fix education, washington, d.c., would be the place you'd go to. there are more -- the highest spending pursuant to, really in the whole country, is in washington, d.c. the most in demand program in washington, d.c., is a charter school where parents stay in line for days to try to get one of those lottery numbers, to get their kids.
now, you're from up here. clemson -- i went to daniel high school. one of the best schools in the state. here's what it's all about. what about those schools that are predominantly african-american counties, in our state, there are 11 of them. where the education system is not what you would want, not what those parents want, and not what i would want. [crowd noise] here's the challenge. the public education system is the great equalizer in america. it is one way that a guy born in the back of a liquor store in central can grow up to be a united states senator. because you get an education through the public system that's free. what happens, what happens -- what happens when that public school system for decades fails to produce the quality people -- [inaudible] [crowd yelling]
i think we need a combination of alternatives when schools fail. no child left behind was an effort to grade schools. when you have a public school that is not producing the quality you'd want for your child, here's what i promise. we need money, let's do money. where we need competition, let's do competition. and the goal for me is to change public education where it needs to go, which is enrich every young person's life. i'll say in our state, we got a ways to go. [crowd yelling] i can tell but betsy devos. she didn't give me a penny. i think i'm the only republican she didn't give a dime to. the bottom line is -- let's see how she does. i thought she was qualified. i don't buy into the liberal -- [inaudible] [crowd yelling] >> this question is from mark. what is your position on foreign aid assistance, specifically for
poverty reduction and international development programs like pepfar and help programs? mr. graham: all right. can we talk about -- no -- we're going to keep control of this. [crowd yelling] nope. i'll get with you in a minute. questioner: she has been in education for 15 years or more. in michigan. the schools are rated 42. 42. mr. graham: you don't think she's qualified? crowd yelling] here's the way it works. where are we at? questioner: we're 50 out of 50. [inaudible] she's done the charter schools. mr. graham: i got you. [inaudible] i thought she was qualified. crowd yelling]
how many of you think sonia sotomayor was qualified to be on the supreme court? how many of you think that elena kagen was qualified to be on the supreme court? how many of you -- there we go. how many of you believe that sonia sotomayor was qualified to be on the supreme court? [crowd yelling] how many of you believe that elena kagen was qualified to be on the supreme court? [crowd yelling] how many of you believe that judge gorsuch is qualified to be on the supreme court? [crowd yelling] so, let me tell you about -- [inaudible] -- i was the only republican on the judiciary
committee to vote for sonia sotomayor and elena kagen and i got the crap beat out of me. can you hear me? [crowd yelling] you know why i got the crap beat out of me? because there's people in my party upset that we lost and they didn't want obama to pick anybody they didn't agree with. and here's what i said. here's what i said. the system can't work that way because there are consequences to losing an election. this president, this president, obama, this president obama earned the right to pick qualified people. i voted for every one of his cabinet nominees. [crowd yelling] hush, hush, please. why did i vote for his cabinet nominees? i thought they were qualified even though i wouldn't have picked any of them. [crowd yelling] now, now.
now. no. now, now. now, no, well, wait a minute. now, you lost an election and you're acting like it doesn't matter. [crowd yelling] foreign aid. foreign aid. [crowd yelling] foreign aid. i thought she was qualified. gorsuch is beyond qualified. [crowd yelling] how many of you want to eliminate foreign aid? raise your hand? how many of you want to eliminate foreign aid? all right. foreign aid, foreign aid is 1% of the federal budget. if you eliminated foreign aid, rand paul, in case you're listening, you don't balance the budget. have you heard of pepfar? [crowd yelling] the question was about foreign aid. the question -- i've already -- i've asked -- we're talking -- we're talking about foreign aid.
i've answered the devos question. if you don't like it, you don't like it. so here. the question that was read by the young lady, this is important. if you don't get that foreign assistance is national security in another form, you're going to get a bunch of us killed. here's the deal. [applause] [crowd yelling] pepfar was a program started by george w. bush, where we put $40 billion over 10 years into fighting aids in africa, i've been to africa about five or six times in the last decade. millions of young african children are alive today because of the money you spent to eradicate aids, it's not eradicated but the almost stopped. so here's foreign aid. all of those children are going to like you. all of those children are going to have a good view of us. and we did the right thing. now, when it comes to helping israel, we give them $3.4 billion a year.
that helps this country by terrorism, the money well spent. my view is that foreign assistance, helping people over there, is a form of national security. and i've tried to say it everywhere i know to say it. if you take diplomacy off the table, if we become fortress america, and we leave over there hoping they won't follow us here, not only are they going to follow us here, they're going to kill a lot of us here. so one of the ways to save face is to invest in the lives of others. i'm going to fight for this foreign aid budget. because i believe in it as much as i believe in the military budget. [applause] questioner: the question is from jim from greenville. i want to you change the health care to the same as you have. cheers and applause]
mr. graham: how many people want the health care i have? [applause] good. you need to join the air force serve 33 years and you can get it. [crowd yelling] now, let's talk about congress and health care. remember when we passed the obamacare act on christmas eve, it was jammed down our throats as republicans. [crowd yelling] i decided to opt out of government-sponsored health care. just listen to me. listen to me. because of this very question. listen. for this very question i decided to opt out of the system that congress was allowed to be in virginia. i came back home like the rest of you, a little short white guy from south carolina, i went into south carolina obamacare system. my deductible went from $750 to $6,250.
and my premium quadrupled. and i'm still as healthy today as i was then. bottom line is, obamacare for middle class people who are working is driving up your cost, increasing your deductible. they're taking money from to you buy for free for somebody else. and that ain't health care, that's redistribution of income. i want to improve your health care, not punish people who work. [crowd yelling] questioner: this question is from susan from clemson. every day an environmental regulation is eliminated or a whole department not funded. what can you do and what can we do? cheers and applause] mr. graham: ok. the first thing we have to do is pass a budget. you can't run the government without a budget. right?
so the president's budget is going to increase military spending, i'm all for. that but here's the problem. [crowd yelling] let me tell you why i'm all for that. how many of you depend on the military to keep you safe? [crowd yelling] how many of you are happy with the fact that 70% of the marine corps can't fly because of training problems and spare parts? how many of you think it's ok to have the smallest army since 1940, because of insane budget cuts? [applause] how many of you think it's ok to have the smallest navy since 1915, when the whole world is falling apart? [crowd yelling] so i'm going to support increased defense spending because we need it. the people defending us need it. but when it comes to the environment, the worst possible thing you can do, the worst possible thing you can do is
increase defense spending and take all the money out of the other parts of the government. [crowd yelling] how many of you believe that climate change is real? cheers and applause] ok. i do too. here's what i want to do. cheers and applause] i want to get us to a lower carbon economy without destroying the economy and i think we can. when it comes to environmental regulation -- let me give you a good example of how far we've gone. a wet spot has been considered navigable waters under the obama administration's clean water act. [crowd yelling] i am all for going through the environmental regulations and cleaning them up, some of them are just ridiculous. but i promise everybody in this room, i think climate change is real and i look for a bipartisan effort over time to lower carbon
emissions and pass on a good, clean environment. [crowd yelling] questioner: this one is from sara from clemson. hi, senator graham. i'm a clemson grad student from iowa. and the dacl is going through my hometown. as much as you -- the midwest oil is the world's supplier of affordable crops, why privatize the dapl over creating solar or wild farms safer for the environment and my family? [applause] mr. graham: are you talking about the keystone pipeline? is that what you're talking about? the keystone pipeline? ok. [crowd yelling] all right. i'm for building the pipeline. crowd yelling] i'm going to vote to build the pipeline. [crowd yelling] you know why i want to build the pipeline? because, because if you don't have a pipeline, you have to use
oil trucks. and the likelihood of a spill from a truck is greater than it is a pipeline. [crowd yelling] let me tell you this. some of you believe we can do without oil and gas. i'm not in that category. so here's what i'm going to do. i'm going to vote to expand the ability to find oil and gas in our country so we don't have to buy it from people who hate our guts. [crowd yelling] i'd rather buy oil from canada, who is our cousin, than buy it from a bunch of people overseas who would kill us all if they could. [crowd yelling] so here's what i'm going to do. i'm going to find a way to extract natural gas and oil from american-held territory to make us energy independent as quick as possible. [crowd yelling] i'm also going to invest in alternative energy to get us away from our dependence on
fossil fuels as quick as possible. if iu don't see the need -- if you don't see the need for both, you're living in a bubble. if you don't see the need to increase our military, you're living in a fantasy land. and if you think they're going to leave us alone over there by just turning our backs on over there, then you're setting up another 9/11. [crowd yelling] questioner: this question is from larry from grier. the g.o.p. proposed health care replacement plan involves vouchers. doesn't that make it more difficult for the lower and middle class to afford adequate health care coverage? mr. graham: yeah. [applause] can i give you a little secret? i don't even know what the .o.p. plan is. [applause] [crowd yelling] let me tell you. did you all see rand paul on tv? you know, rand and i don't agree on much but he's right about this. what was our big knock on obamacare? they did it without any of us. somewhere hidden away. i'm not going to --
[crowd yelling] let me tell my republican leaders who may be listening. don't give lindsey graham take it or leave it options. because i'll leave it. i want to be part of this. i want you to know what we're doing. [applause] i don't want to replace obamacare with a process that's just exactly like we passed it to begin with. i want you to understand why it should be better. and i want to take responsibility if it's not. i want to have a say about what we do with your health care. i believe obamacare is really designed to get the private sector out of the market and have a single payer health care through the back door. and i don't like that. [cheers and applause] i don't like that. i think it's a lousy idea. it's up to us. as republicans. to replace obamacare with something that's good for working people. and it's all about working people and it's about people who are disabled and the about people down on their luck. so here's the deal, folks. i promise you the following.
that there will be transparency. that you'll have a chance to understand what we're doing. i'm going to understand what i'm doing for a -- before i vote. here's the truth of the matter. liberal ou in here are compared to most south carolinaans. [crowd yelling] that's not a bad thing. that's not a bad thing. listen. listen. that's not a bad thing. [crowd yelling] you know what i like about me? if i went to a tea party meeting i'd get the same reaction. [laughter] as a matter of fact, i may not have made it this long in a tea party meeting. [laughter] so here's the deal. here's the deal. we're going to take a few more questions. but here's the deal about the country. here's what i'm trying to do. i'm trying to be as honest with you as i know how. health care, if we got a better idea, you need to know about it before we vote on it. you need to be able to call me and tell me, i don't like this.
as far as i know, there's no voucher component to it. so we owe you that. here's what i owe you. every time i vote for somebody you don't like, i believe i'm doing what's best for this president who deserves the ability to have his cabinet. [crowd yelling] whether you like it or not, i can tell you this, i tell you, i can tell you this -- [crowd yelling] i can tell you this, i can tell you this. i believe president obama deserved to have the cabinet that represented his views. and here's the one thing you get -- here's the one thing i'm trying to do. [crowd yelling] here's the one thing i'm trying to do. i'ming to make sure, i'm trying to make sure that the system works after i'm dead. you know what's going to happen? [crowd yelling] you know what's going to happen? if we get into our camps, if we get into our camps, what we don't recognize, there are other people who disagree with us, and
when the election's over, the people who won it, if they can't have a chance to implement their view of why they ran, then the country's going to fail. [crowd yelling] last question. questioner: the question is from joan from taylor. where do you stand on russian interference which tends to be widespread in the current regime? where do you stand on rush yab interference which -- russian interference which tends to be widespread in current regimes? [crowd yelling] mr. graham: ok. we have a process and wear going to use that process -- we're going to use that process. and the process was, we're going to randomly pick questions. i'm going to answer them and everybody that wrote a question's going to get an answer from me. and the question again was about russian interference. how many of you believe that if we give putin a pass, we'll regret it? [applause] me too. here's what i'd like -- here's my message to president trump. [crowd yelling] here's my message to president
trump. mr. president, mr. president. [crowd yelling] i'm not suggesting that you did not win the election. i am suggesting, mr. president, that russia interfered in our election. and i'm asking you as the commander in chief and the president of the united states to push back against russia. it was democrats today, it could be republicans tomorrow. mr. president, you're the leader of the free world. you're the protector of democracy. [crowd yelling] democracy is under siege from putin's russia. and let it be said, let it be said that the pushback against putin started with a senior senator from south carolina. [cheers and applause] questioner: this question is from ryan from anderson. even after making several promises to release his tax
returns, frum refuses to release them. despite being audited, nixon released his. do you believe as i do that he should release them? mr. graham: i think if there's any campaign context between the trump campaign and russia, then we'll cross that bridge at that time. [crowd yelling] i don't -- there's no law requiring him to do it. but i think the next presidential election, you should release your tax returns. questioner: the question is from robin from greenville. when will you stop aiding and abetting the enemies of the people with your stride comments about the president? [crowd yelling] mr. graham: that's a good one. now who is that? stand up. [cheers and applause] hey! all right. let me -- we got a lot of press here today. let me tell you my view of the press. pain in the ass. but necessary. a free press is the first thing
you want to get rid of if you're an autocratic type person. all right? [crowd yelling] in russia, in russia, you would ave been gone a long time ago. [laughter] but you got nothing to worry about. because i'm not listening to you. so here's the deal. [crowd yelling] here's the deal. i've got to introduce next week a press freedom shield law. i'm going to do it with all people, chuck schumer. we don't agree on much, but we agree on this. [cheers and applause] and the person who originally introduced it was mike pence. and what it does -- [crowd yelling] it protects reporters from having to reveal to the government their sources. [cheers and applause] now, so.
i am absolutely in the camp of a free press is essential to democracy. [cheers and applause] however, so our people, so our friends in the press, you're going nuts. you're acting like the party in opposition. you're acting like a lot of people out here who are so upset about trump. you have no idea what it takes to run a democracy. [crowd yelling] you're so upset. you're so bitter. that you can only see one side of the story. so to my friends in the press, if i were you, i would report the news and let us make up our own minds. every 30 seconds doesn't have to be a breathless take on trump. questioner: this question is from victoria from clemson. do you believe that president trump should release his tax returns? mr. graham: yes, he should. i think he should.
here's the question. am i going to subpoena his tax returns? no, not without a reason. am i going to -- am i going to introduce legislation that will require anybody running for president in 2020 to release their tax returns? yes. [crowd yelling] questioner: the question is from ben. what is being done so that the future generations of americans can successfully run this country? mr. graham: oh, boy. what a great i request question. what a great question. -- what a great question. what a great question. you know what, isn't that the ultimate question really? here's what i think needs to be done. i think democrats and republicans need to realize our common threats and our common values. here's what i think we need to realize. that medicare and social security, by 2042, are going to consume all the revenue that future generations -- that's absolutely the god's truth. [crowd yelling]
80 million baby boomers like me are going to retire in the next 20 years. we're down to two workers for every retiree. and it's going to break the back of medicare, social security, then you got medicaid. you're not going to tax your way to fix this problem. you're not going to throw the economy. i'm dying for a ronald reagan-tip o'neill moment. i'm dying where people can get together and find ways to fix problems. so here's what i want to do. to those of who you believe climate change is real, i'd like to be the republican who would reach out to a democrat to reach a lower carbon economy. increasing the ability to create jobs, not lessen them. i do want to pass on to the next generation clean air and clean water. let me tell you, let me tell you , in terms -- finally, to the next generation, who i'll never meet. here's what i want to have happen on my watch. when it's all said and done.
i want people to say that senator graham saw the threat from radical islam for what it was. existential but can be defeated and will be defeated. that he understood that you can't win the war through military force. het foresight, even though it wasn't popular, to invest in the lives of others over there, even though we're broke here. to make sure that one day they can take this radical ideology and stop it in -- stomp it into the glound, that a young girl can be have a say about her child over there so we don't get attacked over here. ere's what i hope they'll i hope they say we rose to the occasion. we're so divided, we're so bitter, we're so upset with the process so down on each other. but let me tell you. let me tell you this. as to future education opportunities in south carolina, they're not going to get bet we are money alone but it sure as hell would help. as to those who are fighting this war, as to those who are
fighting this war, i'm going to do everything i can to make life easier for your families. i can't promise you'll never go to iraq and afghanistan again, you probably will. but we can all take better care of your families. to the veteran who has been hurt, to those who are disabled, we'll pay your bills because you deserve it. to every veteran in america. to every veteran in america. you don't have to choose between the v.a. and nothing else. you can choose between the v.a. and every doctor and hospital you want and we'll pay the bill. so to the future -- to future generations, i hope you'll look back on a town hall meeting like this d say, that out of came something good. >> this question is from ellen mcalpine from seneca. what do you plan on doing to plo tect the environment in the wake of the rollback of regular -- to
protect the environment in the wake of the rollback of regulations. sen. graham: i think we need environmental policy to address, number one, the clean water act, that the e.p.a. who created the e.p.a.? remember when boston harbor was on fire? one thing i tell you about south carolina, god dealt us a pretty good hand. the late joe cassidy, we put thousands of acres off to development. if you don't -- if you're not an environmentalist, then you're not a really good south carolinian. we've got a really good deal here. what i want to do is make sure that conservation is elevated, that conservation easements, we have more not less. where people are incentivized to take their private property and put in it public trusts. number two, i want to make sure we don't roll back clean air and clean water protection.
that keeps harmful pollutants like mercury and other things from going into the air. the bottom line is, the bottom line is, we want to ensure that we don't overregulate to the point that you can't create jobs unnecessarily to our farmers out there, we want to make sure we don't regulate pesticides to the point where we put you out of business but we also don't want pesticides getting streaming and hurting the ecosystem. here's my view. the e.p.a. under obama went way too far. and new is the time to correct. but to the republicans here, what is our environmental policy? what is the environmental policy of the republican party? so here's what i would urge to my republican friends. don't give an inch on caring about the environment. be for clean air and clean water. understand that climate change, man is contributing to it.
and over time it will hurt us all. come up with environmental policies that are better for business. you know, al gore made climate change a religion. i want to make it a problem to be solved. >> the question is from mary collins from mountain rest. in light of so many questions about russian connections, shouldn't trump's taxes be released? [applause] sen. graham: all right. all right. here's what i think. i think most of the people in this room voted for hillary clinton or somebody other than trump. as a matter of fact -- and they're very upset. they're very upset. and they lost. and they can't get over the fact they lost. so that's why you have a lot of questions. now, but every american should
be asking about russia. every american should be concerned about russia. i've told you about 10 times that i'm very concerned about what they did in our election. i don't believe it's a 400-pound guy sitting on his bed. the russians did it and i want them to pay a price. about his tax returns. i've told you, i think he should release them. i'm not going to subpoena them unless i have a reason. and in 2020 everyone should release tax returns. but why so many questions? why so many questions? because people came here thinking that if you yell at me enough i'll stop being a conservative republican and i won't. some people came here believing that i'll never help trump because i say bad things about him, i will, but i'm still going to push back when i think he's wrong.
>> this question is from jeffreyed aleberg from clemson. at what point do we need a bipartisan special committee for russia? sen. graham: that's a really good question. ok. all right. can i give a little information here? this may be news for the news people back there. so there's two lanes here. what should congress do about russia? right? and what should the f.b.i. and other criminal investigative organizations do about allegations of a -- of illegal contact between the trump campaign and russia? here's what we should do. we should make sure the f.b.i., if they are investigating trump-russia ties, and i don't have any evidence of them, should be able to do it without hesitation or fear. ok. congress should be looking into all things russia. right now, we have the intelligence committee looking
at the roll of the c.i.a. in terms of all things russia. i'm starting an investigate march 15, we'll have a hearing with senator white it is house who is my ranking member -- senator whitehouse, who is my ranking member, we'll look into the role-played in the -- russia played in the 2016 election. if i believe this thing is getting so complicated we need to put all the committees together and we may be getting close to that, where you have the intel committee, the judiciary committee and maybe finance if there are business connections, then we'll need a joint select committee to look at it holistcally. we'll see, we'll see how the current process works. as to the criminal part of it. i talked to the director of the f.b.i. yesterday. here's what i told him. the reason jeff sessions needed to recuse himself is, i've been saying this for weeks, i don't
see how anybody involved in the campaign could make a, you know, could be seen as giving fair advice to an investigator and could dispose of it. i love jeff sessions as a person but he to me -- i don't care if you like him or not. i didn't say you liked him, i like him. if you don't like him fine, he's my friend. so here's the deal. here's the deal. the deputy attorney general is coming up for confirmation tuesday. and the question for him is, can he impartially oversee an investigation, could he dispose of it you don't even know who he is. so here's the deal. he's recommended by the two democratic senators from the state of maryland. he's the attorney general of the state of maryland. mikulski, barbara mikulski the first woman senator in decades,
listeningest serving woman senator, says this guy is a good guy. here's what i'm going to do. if i think he's capable of doing it, i will. if i don't feel he's capable, i'll call for independent counsel. why? let me tell you why. we've got to get this right. i'll tell you what, i don't count on most of you wanting to get this right. you know why? you know why? you know why? you don't want to get it right, ou just want to get trump. so -- ok. it may have been a horrible thing for me to say to you but here's what -- i believe that the emotions right now are so high, so high that if i went to a tea party event they wouldn't
want me to appoint anybody. i'm getting bombarded because i anted jeff sessions recused. es, sir. good question. investigation has been going on almost a year. >> what we're concerned about especially those of us who are independent, what we don't like is the fact that it's not aggressively being released to the public. sen. graham: that's a really good question. sen. graham: can i repeat what he said? so got to end it in a minute. but this is really good.
he's worried that if you don't watch this, some of the evidence is going to go away. right? e other thing -- >> [inaudible] sen. graham: i got you. so he's worry wed need a system to protect the evidence. k. >> you are all republicans. dragging your feet on this sen. graham: ok, i got you. i got you. i got you. ok. i got you. let me tell you the problem with this investigation. the reason you can't release a lot of the things that you want, look, the flynn transcripts, we've asked for them to be sent to the judiciary committee by the f.b.i. i want to see them myself. most of this stuff that we're
finding out, i can't tell you how we find it out, people would get killed. this is the problem here. a lot of this is classified. i'm having my first hearing in the public. i'll be the only member investigating russia that i know of that will have a public hearing. i'm trying to find a way to inform you about what's been going on for the last year, to vn cons -- to convince you that i care about it and we're going to stay on it until i get to the bottom of it, without compromising confidential classified information. this is where the idea of a joint select committee becomes more relevant. you've got the c.i.a., who deals in the world of spooks. right. you've got the f.b.i. who has got a counterterrorism role and a traditional law enforcement role merged here. the one thing i want to be able to convince you of is i care about what happened in 2016 in
our election. and i hope i can convince you of that because i do. i think the russians did it. i think the russians are going to keep doing it. until they pay a price. ok. now, about how we can explain what happened. the tweet today by president trump was earth shattering to me. just think about that -- just think about what he claims. he claims -- he claims -- he claims that the former president illegally wiretapped his campaign. we need to get to the bottom of that, don't you agree? this is actually a good onversation. [inaudible]
sen. graham: no, not -- ok. here's all i'm going to tell you. we have ability to monitor foreign agents throughout the world, including here at home. you can't monitor american citizens without a warrant. monitoring content. so all i'm going to say is that when i can find a way to release transcripts if they exist without compromising the sources and methods, i will do so because i'm tired of asking you to speculate about what somebody did. nobody should be accused of a crime in the paper and everybody find them guilty, but at the same time you need to know, is your government working? in terms of the flynn transcripts, i think it would be appropriate to release as much of that as we could so you could understand what flynn was saying
to the ambassador. as to trump campaign ties. before the election. i don't have any personal evidence that anything happened that was increept, but if there are -- if there's an investigation going on, and we'll know here pretty soon, it should go on and go wherever it takes. he's a republican president, i'm a republican senator, but this is about america. i promise you we're going to allow them to go wherever they need to go. so i've got to go. one more? one more. all right. heard from you. ok. ok. all right, ask your question. >> here's the question. can you hear me? first of all, i want to condition garage late senator
graham for coming here. look at the other people, rubio don't want to go. where's duncan, this guy came, ok. here's the question. here's the question. here's the question. and it's strictly hypothetical, ok. what would happen if hillary clinton were the president? this is hypothetical. this is hypothetical. ok. what would happen if hill criclin -- hillary clinton was president does or did, wouldn't you want to impeach her? sen. graham: all right. hank you for coming. here's what i've learned. here's what i've learned. we need to give you more information about the republican alternative to obamacare. i think we're deficient there, right.
all right. we need to tell you much about the investigation as we can so you won't have to read about it in the paper and speculate on the news, right? we need to be as open about it as we can. it needs to go wherever it goes, there's nobody to reward, nobody to punish. got that. when it comes to russia, we need to hit them and hit them hard so they don't do it again. so here's my view about how to protect the nation. you need to strengthen the military but if you don't have soft power we're all going to regret it. i've tried to tell you bipartisanship is being lost if we don't regain it, i don't know how you fix medicare with just republicans working by themselves. i don't know how you cey social security by yelling about it. so here's the last thought. i don't know what 2017 is going to wind up being like. but i'm worried. you know why i'm worried? i'm worried that democracy all over the world is under siege.
i'm worried -- i'm worried that in france there's a movement because globalization is scaring people and i get it, life is changing so quick, that you have a leading candidate in france talking about withdrawing from the e.u., withdrawing from nato, that we're all afraid. i don't mind extreme vet bug remember the young lady from clemson? ok. well here's what i'm saying. vetting from failed states makes sense. but throwing everybody in one pot because of their religion is dangerous. [applause] the only way we'll win this war is to partner with people in the faith. i'm going to leave you with some good news. after 40 trips to iraq and afghanistan, moat fathers and mothers over there are not buying what isil and these
nutjobs are selling. look it or not, they different than us but they want for their kids the same things we want for ours. and we need to help them. the bottom line here is, i will be back, i'll come somewhere else here in the state, i'll keep you informed. i'm not here to try to convince you -- to agree with me. i'm trying to convince you that i'm doing the best that lindsey graham knows how when the cundry -- country is so sideways and ou know what, i think -- >> need to know, we are not upset because a republican won. we are upset -- [inaudible] en. graham: all right. all right. this is a good way to end this.
all right. all right. [applause] sen. graham: hey, ma'am. thank you. is that a good summary of it all? you know what i have in common with some of you? i didn't vote for trump either. all right. all right. i voted for evan mcmullin, i wouldn't know him if he walked on the stage. i was pretty hard on trump and he was pretty hard on me, right. let me tell you, ma'am. you may not like the fact that he won, but he beat me like a drum. he beat 16 very talented republicans. he beat the former first lady and secretary of