U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN Sunday morning that he and U.S. Sen. John McCain are planning a trip to Egypt in the aftermath of a military coup that has upended the region’s stability.
“I know it's dangerous, but we need to be there with our diplomats giving the unified message to Egypt. Do not let these people drive us out of the Mid East,” Graham told CNN’s Candy Crawley on the show “State of the Union,” according to a transcript.
Graham added: “This is an effort to terrorize us, to drive us out of the Mid East. And if we ever take the bait and try to come home and create fortress America, we'll have another 9/11.”
Graham also warned against gutting the National Security Agency’s programs that have been criticized for violating American’s privacy.
“If you want to gut it, you make us much less safe, and you're putting our nation at risk. We need to have policies in place that can deal with the threats that exist, and they are real, and they are growing,” Graham said.
Graham is up for reelection in 2014, and already three have said they will challenge him in next summer’s Republican primary:
• Richard Cash, a small business owner who unsuccessfully ran for Congress two years ago in the seat ultimately won by U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan.
• Nancy Mace, the owner of a public relations firm and the first woman to ever graduate from The Citadel
• Lee Bright, a state Senator from Spartanburg and one of the legislature’s most outspoken libertarians.
Asked about the rise of his challengers – who criticize Graham for his willingness to work with Democrats – Graham said:
“I’m a conservative, but I do want to solve problems. I’m going to Egypt because my country needs me.”
– Adam Beam
Watch a clip of Graham’s appearance below: