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Graham Criticized For Saying It Would Be 'Terrible' If He Had Iranian Heritage

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 October 2018 04:49 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is catching heat for saying it would be "terrible" if he was part Iranian.

Graham on Tuesday morning's "Fox and Friends" joked about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's DNA test results that showed a trace of Native American heritage, then said he would take his own DNA test to show his roots.

At the end of the segment, he joked about having Iranian ancestors.

"We'll find out who you really are," co-host Brian Kilmeade said.

"I'll probably be Iranian. That'd be, like, terrible," Graham said, laughing.

Kilmeade tried to save Graham and said, "They have great people, just bad leaders."

"Yeah, bad leaders. I'm not in the Ayatollah branch," Graham replied.

The remarks prompted Graham's critics to claim he was being racist and hateful by seemingly criticizing the Iranian people.

Actress Yara Shahidi said on Twitter, "Sickening display of racism and bigotry. Proudly Iranian over here."

CNN reporter Oliver Darcy, meanwhile, said he is the child of Iranian parents and seemed to take offense to Graham's comments:

"Both of my parents migrated to the US from Iran, along with much of my family. What's wrong with having a Persian ancestry? This comment from Graham — and the casual way in which he delivers it and then laughs — is really off-putting."

The National Iranian American Council reacted with a strong statement from its president Jamal Abdi, who said Graham's comments were "disgusting."

"It is absolutely disgusting for Senator Graham to state on 'Fox and Friends' that it would be 'terrible' to discover that he had Iranian ancestry from a DNA test," Abdi said. "This is not the first time that Graham has made bigoted remarks about Iranians. In 2015, he said 'I know Iranians are liars' based on his experience in his dad's pool hall.

"If you dread the notion of Iranian ancestry and believe all Iranians are liars, you are hopelessly bigoted and unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate where votes affect tens of millions of Iranians and millions more of Iranian ancestry in the diaspora."

It's likely Graham was speaking in reference to the Iran nuclear deal, which went into effect in January 2016. Graham was opposed to the agreement, and earlier this year President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from it.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is catching heat for saying it would be "terrible" if he was part Iranian.
lindsey graham, iran, south carolina, elizabeth warren, dna
Tuesday, 16 October 2018 04:49 PM
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