COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Just hours before President Trump announced airstrikes on chemical weapons facilities in Syria, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham took questions at a Healthcare Cooperative event at Lexington High School.
Regarding Syria, Graham said he supports a swift US response.
"I think (Syrian leader Bashar Al) Assad should be a legitimate target," Graham said. "Take out his ability to wage war. Give the Syrian people a chance to breathe- and as to Russia, if you keep helping Assad, you do so at your own peril."
Graham explained the Syrian strikes will have far-reaching effects and could help American foreign policy in the long term.
"Mr. President, you have the chance to change the world here...everybody's looking at what you're doing with Assad," Graham said. "If you make him pay a big price, chances are North Korea's going to take you more seriously. Russia and Iran are going to behave better. This is the most important decision you will make- is how to deal with Assad who has killed thousands of people through chemical weapons, who's a butcher and needs to pay a heavy price."
Earlier in the week on Capitol Hill, Senator Graham was among a group of Senators who questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding concerns over the way the social media platform handles users' private information. Graham says he came away unimpressed.
"Facebook is a monopoly whether they say they are or not...there's really no competition," Graham said. "Most people don't know what you're signing up for here. You have no idea how your personal life can be used and maybe abused- there needs to be regulation."
Regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian probe, Graham urged the President to use restraint and cautioned against firing the Special Prosecutor, saying
"I have seen no evidence of collusion between the president and the Russians in the campaign that's what matters the most," Graham said. "If there's no evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians or Russian intelligence services- the rest of this will probably go away. The worst thing president could do is stop Mr. Mueller. At the end of the day, the president's gonna be fine."
When asked to respond to Governor McMaster's decision to send members of the SC National Guard to the southern border, Graham said it's a move he supports.
"This is the third president to send troops to the border- it makes some sense," Graham said. "We need a wall. We need a wall, but we need border security systems. Our border is porous. Terrorists could come cross the border. Most who come here, come here to work- but some could come to rob steal & some could be terrorists."
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