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Lindsey Graham says there are ‘gonna be people jumping off bridges in San Francisco by the thousands’ if Jim Jordan becomes chair of the House Judiciary Committee

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Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

  • GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham campaigned in Ohio for Senate candidate JD Vance.

  • During a speech at a Republican Party dinner in Lima, Graham riled up a crowd of the party faithful.

  • Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio is set to chair the House Judiciary Committee if the GOP retakes the chamber.

LIMA, Ohio — Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was met with roaring laughter from a crowd of Republican voters on Tuesday evening when he suggested that Republican Rep. Jim Jordan’s ascension to chair of the House Judiciary Committee could result in a raft of suicides.

Graham, campaigning in Ohio for GOP Senate candidate JD Vance, addressed a room full of party faithful at a dinner hosted by the local Republican party in Lima, a Western Ohio city that Jordan has long represented in Congress. Also in attendance were Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio GOP chairman Mike Paduchik, and a handful of other top Republican officials in the state.

Vance, a former venture capitalist and the author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” is facing a tougher than expected race against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, and has recently been campaigning with national Republican figures including former President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

“You got something really special here. This guy is going to change the Republican Party, change the Senate, all for the better,” Graham said near the beginning of his address, referring to Vance. “But here’s some words that really rattle the Democratic Party. What’s the worst thing the Democratic Party wants to hear? Chairman Jim Jordan.”

Jordan, a leader of the party’s right flank and currently the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, has pledged to conduct investigations into the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice if the GOP retakes the House.

Graham speaks at a Republican dinner in Lima, Ohio as Jordan looks on.

Graham speaks at a Republican dinner in Lima, Ohio as Jordan looks on.Bryan Metzger/Insider

“There are gonna be people jumping off bridges in San Francisco by the thousands,” said Graham, bursting into laughter along with the crowd. “You know, New York City, they may literally shut down.”

An average of 30 people every year die by suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay area. More than 1,800 people have in total have plunged to their deaths from the famous bridge — the most number of suicides on any bridge in the country, according to The Los Angeles Times. Officials recently began constructing a steel net underneath the bridge in an attempt to prevent deaths.

Graham has made a version of this joke at least once before, including denying rumors that he might be gay in a 2009 interview with the New York Times.

“I know it’s really gonna upset a lot of gay men — I’m sure hundreds of ’em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge — but I ain’t available,” said Graham in the interview. “I ain’t gay. Sorry.”

Jordan, a staunch ally of former president Donald Trump, helped found the conservative House Freedom Caucus and previously served as chair of the House Republican Study Committee. He’s promised the judiciary committee will “aggressively” investigate the Department of Justice and other government entities and officials if the GOP retakes control of the House.

At the Lima event, Graham went on to joke about Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler’s weight. The current chair of the judiciary committee has been open in the past about his struggles with weight loss.

“I can’t wait until he gets the gavel. The best trade in the history of politics is Jerry Nadler for Jim Jordan,” said Graham. “You’re saving about 200 pounds.”

Attendees listen as Republican Senate candidate JD Vance speaks at the Republican dinner in Lima, Ohio.

Attendees listen as Republican Senate candidate JD Vance speaks at the Republican dinner in Lima, Ohio.Bryan Metzger/Insider

But Graham also underscored the broader stakes of the 2022 midterm elections, noting that Republicans will be able to investigate Democrats on a range of issues if they regain power.

“The bottom line is we’ll have oversight. We’ll ask questions you’ve been dying for somebody to ask, and we’ll see what kind of answers we get,” he said. “We’ll get to the bottom a lot of this crap. You can only do that if you’re in charge.”

At the outset of the dinner, Vance praised Graham, saying he’d followed his career for a long time. “I’ve watched him on TV, I’ve watch him on Fox News, like a lot of you,” said Vance.

Vance said Graham particularly impressed him with an impassioned defense of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. The candidate noted that his wife, Usha, had once worked for Kavanaugh when he was a federal judge.

“I’ve never seen Washington do anything like they did to Brett Kavanaugh,” said Vance. “And his most energetic, most passionate, and I think the most effective defender was a great senator from South Carolina: Lindsey Graham.”

Republican Senate candidate JD Vance speaks at a Republican dinner in Lima, Ohio.

Republican Senate candidate JD Vance speaks at a Republican dinner in Lima, Ohio.Bryan Metzger/Insider

Just before the event, Vance and Graham took a handful of questions from the media.

Insider asked the two men — both of whom are prominent examples of Republicans who strongly condemned Trump only to later become his loyal cheerleaders — about their support for the former president.

“I don’t know that we’ve talked about it,” said Vance, gesturing towards Graham. “My argument is: when a guy does a good job, you ought to change your mind, because when the facts change, that’s what thinking people do.”

“Primaries are contested,” said Graham, who also sought the Republican nomination for president in 2016. “You know, all the opponents of Joe Biden got on board, because he beat them. When Trump beat me, I accepted my defeat, and I thought he was a good president on the things that I care about. So there you go.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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