Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) exploded at a Newsmax reporter during a bipartisan visit to Israel, telling him off for trying to goad attendees into criticizing Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who is of Palestinian descent, for her remarks condemning Israel over the al-Ahli Arab hospital attack.
The spat, at a press briefing held by senators in Tel Aviv, escalated to the point where Graham got into a screaming match with journalist Daniel Cohen, eventually yelling, “Get this guy out of here!”
But Israeli security ignored Graham’s demand.
Cohen, the Jerusalem correspondent for the right-wing news outlet, introduced himself as an American who had made aliyah, or immigration from the diaspora to Israel, with his family two years ago.
He thanked the senators on stage for their support but then requested to hear from any of the Democrat senators about Tlaib’s post on X, formerly Twitter, from Oct. 17 in which she blamed Israel for the Gaza hospital bombing. She left the post up despite President Joe Biden and other U.S. officials later saying that intelligence suggested Israel was not to blame.
Graham immediately told Cohen to stop, despite repeated protestations from Cohen that it was “a fair question.”
“No, stop!” Graham shot back. “We are here together, not to talk about the problems at home, which are many. I’ve got my own view of what to say. You’re not going to screw this up. Get this guy out of here.”
Graham further explained himself, stating that although he doesn’t support “The Squad,” the unofficial group of progressive House members that includes Tlaib, but he believed in free speech, and believed that the Democrat and Republican senators on stage had come together to support Israel.
After finally settling down, he apologized, saying, “And I’m sorry, my friend. I probably shouldn't have said it, but my nerves are raw right now.”
Speaking on Newsmax after the heated interaction, Cohen voiced his disappointment that most senators were unwilling to condemn Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who had posted a similar stance on social media.
ICYMI:🚨Things get testy when Sen. Lindsey Graham tries to kick me out of a news conference for asking a question about Democrat lawmakers who refuse to condemn Hamas.
Thank you Sen. Susan Collins for doing the right thing.
WATCH FULL📢 @NEWSMAX https://t.co/fsnkWUKCVH pic.twitter.com/1e473uLFaK
— Daniel Cohen (@DanielCohenTV) October 23, 2023
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told the outlet that it was hard for her to understand “why a member of Congress or anyone would not condemn what Hamas has done,” mentioning the Oct. 7 attack that killed over 1,400 Israelis.
Graham spoke at the press conference alongside Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Katie Britt (R-AL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jack Reed (D-RI), Dan Sullivan (D-AK), and John Thune (R-SD).