Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) defended on Thursday her previous claim that President Trump has somehow coerced Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) into publicly supporting him through blackmail.
“He is somehow compromised to no longer stand up for the truth and is fighting to protect the oath that he took in serving the American people,” Omar said on CNN, reiterating a claim she first made in a Tuesday tweet, sent in response to a video of Graham denouncing Trump in 2015.
Asked to expand her upon her tweet, Omar suggested the president might be threatening to stifle Graham’s political career if he continued the public derision he leveled at then-candidate Trump during the presidential campaign.
“I am pretty sure that there is something happening with him, whether it is, you know, something that has to do with his funding when it comes to running for office, whether it has something to do with the polling that they might have in his district [sic], or whether it has to do with some sort of leadership within the Senate,” Omar said when the segment began.
Asked by CNN’s Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto to provide evidence substantiating her claim, Omar admitted that the statement represented her opinion and was not based on any proprietary knowledge.
“The evidence really is present to us. It’s being presented to us in the way that he is behaving,” Omar asserted.
“But that’s not evidence,” Harlow responded. “That’s your opinion, but now as a sitting member of Congress, you have tweeted, ‘They got him on this.’ Again, just based on what evidence?”
“My tweet was just an opinion based on what I believe to be visible to me, and I’m pretty sure there are lots of Americans who agree on this,” Omar conceded.
Omar leveled the accusation at Graham just hours after MSNBC’s Stephanie Rhule appeared to endorse the theory on-air.
“It could be that Donald Trump or somebody knows something pretty extreme about Lindsey Graham,” Ruhle said before abruptly ending her segment on Tuesday. “We’re gonna leave it there.”