After Tucker Carlson Attacks Him Over Chinese Visas, Lindsey Graham Goes on Hannity to Deny Story: ‘Absolute Garbage’
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had quite the roller coaster ride on the Fox News Channel Thursday evening, first getting attacked by Tucker Carlson, then appearing on Sean Hannity’s program the very next hour to defend himself.
The issue was a story published by Politico earlier in the day that claimed President Donald Trump was considering expanding the EB-5 investor immigrant visa program as part of the coronavirus recovery bills, and that Graham was pushing the White House to move forward with the idea:
The expansion is being pushed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Trump ally who has supported easing restrictions in the past, according to one of the people. His office did not respond to a request for comment.
The EB-5 visas require immigrants to invest at least $1,800,000 in an American business that will employ at least ten American workers. The investment minimum is lowered to $900,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area,” a rural or high unemployment area. The program has been very popular with Chinese immigrants investing in American real estate projects.
According to the Politico article, the Trump administration was considering cutting the required investment in half while increasing the number of visas issued annually from 10,000 to 75,000.
The story invoked outrage in a number of conservative media outlets — Breitbart’s headline read “Sources: Lindsey Graham Uses China’s Disease Crisis to Deliver Green Cards to Wealthy Chinese” — and Carlson pulled no punches in one of his monologues on his show Thursday, accusing Graham of working to “reward the Chinese” for the coronavirus pandemic by “selling American citizenship to Chinese oligarchs.”
Graham’s office had not responded to a request for comment from Politico, and it appears he also did not communicate with Carlson before his show began airing at 8:00 pm ET. However, Hannity’s program in the 9 o’clock hour gave Graham the chance to defend himself, and he did, emphatically denying the entire story.
“You agreed with me,” Hannity said to Graham, “that these are going to be clean bills, ok?”
Hannity then asked the senator about the Politico article — “I want to know if there is any truth to this, that you are using the coronavirus recovery bills specifically to dramatically expand what’s known as an EB-5 green card that would allow wealthy Chinese if they lend money or purchase or invest in the U.S…are you making that part of this recovery bill?”
“Absolutely not,” stated Graham. “I haven’t talked to anybody on the planet, much less the Trump administration, putting EB-5 on the coronavirus bill.”
“This is not the time or the place,” he continued. “The president supports the [visa] program and I do too. We’re not going to put a damn thing on this bill that doesn’t protect you and your family from the virus and doesn’t give you money that you desperately need.”
“So let me be clear,” replied Hannity, “Politico Magazine’s report is an outright falsehood?”
Graham was not sure if the original report came from Politico or another media outlet, but agreed that the story was “absolute garbage.”
“I haven’t talked to anybody,” he said. “I would object to putting anything in these bills that is not related to solving the problem.”
Watch the video above, via Fox News Channel.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]