Who Is?
S3 E12

Who Is Lindsey Graham? Narrated by Geena Rocero

Lindsey Olin Graham was born in 1955 in Central, South Carolina, a former textile mill town between Atlanta and Charlotte. At the time of Lindsey’s birth, the population of Central was approximately 2,000. Two folks embedded in that number were Lindsey’s parents: F.J. and Millie, high school dropouts who had their very own restaurant-bar-liquor store-pool hall called Sanitary Café.

Graham was the first in his family to go to college. When he was attending classes at the University of South Carolina, his parents passed away just 15 months apart from each other, leaving Graham to take care of his younger sister and the family business, which eventually went under. Graham and his sister were able to make ends meet through social security survivor benefits. And he’d go on to graduate from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in psychology in 1977 and from the University’s School of Law with a J.D. in 1981.

A year later, Graham was commissioned as an officer and judge advocate in the U.S. Air Force. First, he spent four years as a prosecutor and defense attorney in Europe. He explained the fun he had and the freedom that came with being single overseas. "Don't believe anything anybody tells you about my Air Force exploits, I was very heterosexual, that's all you need to know."

After his very straight stint in Europe, he left active duty in 1989 and joined the South Carolina Air National Guard where he served until 1995. And while Graham rose through the Air Force Reserve ranks, he also climbed the ladder of Republican politics. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1992, serving one term - before serving four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Graham - like many others - absolutely hated Trump and the idea of endorsing the man who gave away his phone number didn’t even cross his mind. In fact, he disliked Trump so much, he endorsed George Bush’s little brother first. But since the election, Graham has done a 180 on the man behind Kanye’s favorite hat.