Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) railed against a Newsmax reporter during a bipartisan visit to Israel, reprimanding him for trying to get attendees to support Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who is of Palestinian descent her statements criticizing Israel’s condemnation of the attack on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital.
At a senators’ press conference in Tel Aviv, the argument escalated to the point where Graham got into a heated argument with journalist Daniel Cohen, eventually shouting: “Get this guy out of here!”
But Israeli security ignored Graham’s demands.
Cohen, the right-wing news channel’s Jerusalem correspondent, introduced himself as an American who had made aliyah, i.e. immigration from the diaspora to Israel, with his family two years ago.
He thanked the senators on stage for their support, but then asked to hear from one of the Democratic senators Tlaib’s post on X, formerly Twitter, on October 17, in which she blamed Israel for the Gaza hospital bombing. She left the post even though President Joe Biden and other US officials later said intelligence suggested Israel was not to blame.
Graham immediately told Cohen to stop, even though Cohen repeatedly asserted 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 numerous. I have my own opinion about what to say. You won’t screw this up. Get this guy out of here.”
Graham further explained that while he does not support “The Squad,” the unofficial group of progressive House members that includes Tlaib, he believes in free speech and believes that the Democratic and Republican senators on the stage. Support Israel.
After he finally calmed down, he apologized and said, “And I’m sorry, my friend. I probably shouldn’t have said it, but my nerves are frayed at the moment.”
After the heated exchange, Cohen expressed disappointment on Newsmax that most senators were unwilling to condemn Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who had expressed similar sentiments on social media.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told the media outlet that she found it difficult to understand “why any member of Congress or anyone else wouldn’t condemn what Hamas has done,” mentioning the Oct. 7 attack in which over 1,400 Israelis were killed.
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) and Jack Reed (D-RI), Dan Sullivan (D-AK) and John Thune (R-SD).