Sen. Lindsey Graham Fights Back at Rowdy Town Hall: 'Bring It On'

Image: Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, right, talks with constituents after a town hall meeting Saturday in Columbia.Sean Rayford / Getty Images

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By Chelsea Bailey

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, defended his conservative values and voting record at a raucous town hall on Saturday, hitting back at what he described as the "double standard" among his more liberal-minded constituents.

Graham had to shout at times to be heard over the crowd in an auditorium of largely Democratic voters in Columbia. But he told voters that their boos and anger weren't persuading him to change his positions.

"All of you want [Donald] Trump to be denied what comes with being president — not all of you, but some of you — and you want to overturn the election," Graham shouted over jeers.

Later, as constituents chanted "Your Last Term," Graham fired back.

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"Good! Bring it on — we're going to have an election in 2020," he said, referring to when his seat is up. "Here's what I'm going to do: Between now and 2020, I'm not going to worry about losing my job. I'm not worried about you not voting for me. You know what I am worried about? Our country."

Since Trump was inaugurated, many Republican lawmakers have faced vocal opposition at town hall meetings, and not everyone has handled the pressure well.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas came under fire for telling constituents to "shut up" during a meeting this month, while voters in California hung missing posters and held a mock vigil for Rep. Devin Nunes after he refused to agree to a meeting.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, right, talks with constituents after a town hall meeting Saturday in Columbia.Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Pacing the stage for nearly two hours Saturday, Graham fielded questions about Russia, the federal budget, campaign finance reform and the Second Amendment.

Related: Graham: Congress Will 'Flex Muscle' Over Wiretapping Claim

A voter from Columbia lashed out at Graham for calling for a bipartisan effort to reform the Affordable Care Act after Graham previously refused to work with the Obama administration. Others booed his assertion that Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was the "most qualified" for the position.

"If you don't understand that elections matter, then you don't understand America," Graham said, adding later: "I don't believe that the Constitution was written so that you get everything you want and I get nothing. That's not the way the Constitution was written."

Graham seemed to try to end the town hall on a positive note, promising to place his state's needs over his own ideology.

Related: Democrats Accuse Gorsuch of Skirting Major Legal Questions

"Do you have any idea that ... I could keep this job 200 years, just keeping [Democrats] mad and nobody else, but you know what I've chosen? I've chosen to try, apparently, to make a lot of people mad," Graham said, adding that tea party voters would be equally as upset with his voting record.

"I'm a proud conservative who realizes that this country needs to come together and, to the extent that I can help bring us together, I will," he said.