The Buzz

What 4 SC Republicans, who skipped convention, are doing


As the GOP rallies around Donald Trump as its nominee for president, half of S.C. Republicans in Congress are sitting the party’s convention out – but only one out of dissent.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford, Tom Rice and Joe Wilson are at the four-day Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Here is what the rest are up to this week.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham

It’s no surprise Graham is skipping the convention. South Carolina’s senior senator has been an outspoken critic of Trump.

After ending his own presidential bid in December, Graham endorsed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and then threw his support behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in an effort to stop the reality-TV businessman.

Outspoken about his dislike of Trump, Graham earlier this year likened being a Republican with the New Yorker as nominee to being on the “team that bought a ticket on the Titanic after we saw the movie.” Graham has said he will not vote for Trump in November but will work to help other Republican candidates.

On Tuesday, he followed through on that promise, stumping for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., in Pittsburgh along with Scott.

Graham plans to spend the rest of the week home in South Carolina.

U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy

Gowdy is at home in South Carolina for most of the week, spending time with family.

Like Graham, he also took time during the convention week to support Republicans farther down the ticket. He traveled to Gallatin, Tenn., to speak at a campaign event for Republican colleague U.S. Rep. Diane Black, telling the audience, “I can’t imagine serving without her.”

Gowdy, who along with Scott and Gov. Nikki Haley endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida ahead of South Carolina’s February primary, endorsed Trump in May, when the real-estate mogul became the presumptive nominee. Gowdy has kept quiet about the candidate since then.

Although Gowdy is not in Cleveland, a major theme of the convention has been the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which he investigated and kept in the public eye for two years as chair of a special House committee. Gowdy’s probe was denounced by Democrats as an attempt to smear Hillary Clinton and hurt her chances of being elected.

On Tuesday in Cleveland, Benghazi survivors Mark Geist and John Teigenat riled up the crowd, which erupted into chants of “Lock her up.”

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan

Duncan is tied up with an obligation that involves his counter-terrorism work with the Committee on Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Western hemisphere. But he took to Facebook to “make it unmistakably clear” that he fully supports Trump for president and his absence from the convention should not be read as opposition to the New Yorker.

“While I campaigned for Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential primary, I have long defended much of what Donald Trump has said throughout his campaign,” Duncan said in a Facebook post Tuesday.

Duncan was the first in the S.C. delegation to endorse Trump after he won the nomination.

U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney

Mulvaney also is back in South Carolina, but keeping up with the convention and sharing his thoughts on social media.

Mulvaney was on Facebook on Tuesday to weigh in on the controversy about Melania Trump’s Monday speech, which was overshadowed by claims that the speech plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic convention address.

“It strikes me that it is very similar to just about every political speech ever given,” he said. “I’ve heard those lines a thousand times. I didn’t realize that you could plagiarize political platitudes.”