Ilhan Omar Didn’t Actually Claim Lindsey Graham Is Blackmailed Because He’s Secretly Gay

Ilhan Omar Didn’t Actually Claim Lindsey Graham Is Blackmailed Because He’s Secretly Gay

Appearing on CNN this morning, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was pressed by hosts Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow to explain her tweet in which she claimed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had been “compromised,” implying he had shifted his opinion on Donald Trump due to being blackmailed.

Omar was accused of homophobia due to the belief, especially from Republicans and conservatives, that she was pushing rumors that Graham is secretly gay and trying to keep from being outed. During her CNN interview, she was challenged to defend her accusation that the South Carolina lawmaker was compromised.

“I am pretty sure that there is something happening with him whether it is something that has to do with his funding when it comes to running for office,” she said. Whether it has something to do with the polling that they might have in his district or whether it has to do with some sort of leadership within the Senate.”

She went on to state that Graham “is somehow compromised to no longer stand up for the truth and to make sure that he is fighting to protect the oath that he took in serving the American people.”

Sciutto and Harlow would push back hard against her assertion that Graham had been compromised, noting that she wasn’t really presenting any evidence, leading her to acknowledge that this was essentially just her opinion.

One thing that Omar did not say, or even hint at, during the segment was a belief that Graham was a closeted homosexual who was being blackmailed over his sexual identity. Yet, immediately after the interview aired, many framed her comments as explicitly pushing a homophobic rumor.

With the video clip framed in this way, it didn’t take long for others to weigh in and accuse her of saying Graham is secretly gay and compromised because of it. Mainstream reporters even jumped in on the action.

But as others noted, there was nothing in the clip that even brought up Graham’s sexuality and that it was irresponsible to suggest she said that, even if one may *feel* like that was what she was hinting at.

And for her part, Omar took to Twitter to state that her tweet has “nothing to do with his sexuality and everything to do with his blind cooperation w/ Trump,” adding that this narrative formed because the right thinks homosexuality is compromising.

Again, all one has to do is actually watch the clip and see she says nothing about Graham’s sexuality and doesn’t even come close to implying it has anything to do with her feelings that he is compromised. One can criticize her for pushing an unfounded conspiracy theory that a fellow lawmaker is being blackmailed to change his positions towards Trump, but it should be left there. She hasn’t even hinted at usubstantiated rumors over his sexuality.

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.