Graham: Politicians 'need to up their game' on policy, DACA deal, combating divisiveness

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was in attendance at the Columbia Urban League's annual MLK breakfast.

Following the breakfast, Graham briefly spoke about President Donald Trump's reported controversial comments about immigrants from different countries and the DACA deal.

In light of Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy that's being honored on Monday, Graham was asked how President Trump's legacy should be explained to America's youth.

"What I've tried to say today is that America is not the world's policeman, but our values and our country is what holds the world together," Graham said. "The glue that holds America together is the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King. We've made it this far by focusing on what we have in common.

"The discourse right now is pretty low. We're producing some pretty good policy, but those of us in my business need to up their game," Graham continued. "It's pretty embarrassing when you have to take your children out of the room just to report the news. So the only thing I can do is control me. I can't make anyone change but me. I told the folks here today was the best way to honor Martin Luther King in 2018 for me is to make sure we don't go backward."

Graham said that the divisiveness, in general, is not just along racial lines, but along ideological lines. He then discussed citizens under DACA status.

"There are 800,000 young people who have been given legal status. They came here as young people, some of them are young adults now, and they've got no other place else to go," Graham said. "My now-famous meeting with the president was about solving a problem to secure our country and to be compassionate and understanding of these 800,00 children. When you tell them to go home, the only home the only home they know is America."

Graham said that no deal would be done by the president on Twitter, but by talking across party lines to secure the border and protect those citizens under DACA.

"It's gonna take you, Mr. President, working with Republicans and Democrats to get this done," Graham said. "It's not gonna be done on Twitter, by tweeting."

Last week, Sen. Graham was in the room when President Donald Trump reportedly referred to several third-world and African countries as a derogatory term during a bipartisan meeting on immigration.

Fellow Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said Graham objected to the president's phrasing during the meeting.

"My colleague, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said. I was very proud of him, it took courage for what he did," Durbin said. "And I made my own comments in response to it, but for him to confront the president as he did, literally sitting next to him, took extraordinary political courage and I respect him for it."

Graham released a statement the next day, saying that he spoke to the president directly about the comments.

"Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday," the statement read in part. "The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel.  I've always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals."

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