Former Lindsey Graham donor says support stopped when he didn't defend McCain from Trump

A former top donor to Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op MORE (R-S.C.) who publicly endorsed Graham’s challenger Jamie Harrison wrote Tuesday that one of the final straws for him was Graham’s failure to defend the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump Cindy McCain ‘disappointed’ McGrath used image of John McCain in ad attacking McConnell Report that Bush won’t support Trump reelection ‘completely made up,’ spokesman says MORE (R-Ariz.) from attacks by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE.

“I asked myself, ‘What is the character of a man who will not defend his best friend? If he won’t defend John McCain, why would I expect him to defend any of us in South Carolina?’” Richard Wilkerson, the retired chairman and president of Michelin North America, wrote in an op-ed for the Greenville News.

“My conclusion was that he was more interested in currying favor than in honoring the memory of a true American hero whom he had described as his best friend,” he added. “I was extremely disappointed.”


Wilkerson cites other policies and actions he said further soured him on Graham, including his support for the 2017 tax reform package and his opposition to increased unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Apparently, he feels that it is OK to share government dollars with those who don’t truly need the money, but deny any small windfall to working people who have lost their jobs. These two actions tell me who is important to him, and I do not agree with his direction,” Wilkerson wrote.

Wilkerson announced his endorsement of Harrison in late April, calling him “the perfect candidate to bring together South Carolinians from all walks of life.” Wilkerson has donated to Democrats in the past, including Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Mnuchin indicates openness to more PPP loans in next COVID-19 relief bill On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility MORE (D-N.H.).

Although Graham remains the favorite in the race, his vocal backing of Trump has made him a top target for Democratic donors, and Harrison outraised Graham in the first quarter of the year.

Graham has defended his handling of Trump’s attacks on McCain, saying last year “I’m not into this idea the only way you can help honor John McCain is to trash out Trump.”

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