Hawkish Graham enters Republican presidential race

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham declares 2016 presidential bid promising to ‘defeat enemies’ with hawkish foreign policy

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham has announced his presidential bid for 2016 elections, joining an already crowded field of Republican contenders for the nomination.

Graham is known for his hawkish stance in foreign policy and he underlined this stance of his in the announcement speech he made in his home state.

"I want to be president to defeat the enemies trying to kill us, not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them," Graham said warning that enemies of the United States have more opportunities than ever.

"They have more safe havens, more money, more weapons and more capability to strike our homeland than any time since 9/11. They are large, they are rich, and they're entrenched."

Graham became the ninth Republican to announce a presidential bid joining other fellow senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul as other names such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida governor Jeb Bush are expected to declare as well.

A staunch critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, Graham was one of the 47 Republican senators to sign a letter addressing Iranian leaders against a possible nuclear deal.

"Those who believe we can disengage from the world at large and be safe by leading from behind, vote for someone else. I am not your man," Graham said referring to Obama’s foreign policy sentiment.

As a close friend of former presidential candidate and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, Graham will be seeking support from party’s neo-conservative wing.

The three time senator, however, faces a strong challenge as his collaboration with Democrats in the past gained him strong enmity among the fellow Republicans, especially from fiscal conservatives.

He voted to support Obama's two Supreme Court nominees and to end a 2013 partial government shutdown aligning with the Democrats.

Yet, Graham’s most divergent position among the Republicans is his position on social security.

As an orphan college student who had to take care of his younger sister, Graham benefitted from social security in his early life and advocates social security programmes, a position strongly opposed by fiscal conservatives.

"We depended on Social Security benefits to survive," Graham said. "As president, I'll gladly do what it takes to save a program that once saved my family."

TRTWorld and agencies