14 Things You Should Know About Lindsey Graham, Who Just Announced He's Running for President

He thinks the world is 'falling apart,' and he wants to be the one to fix it.

Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham just announced that he's running for his party's presidential nomination, joining Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, and many more potential Republican candidates.

Graham has been working in the Senate since 2002, and before that he spent eight years in the House of Representatives. He said, "I'm running because I think the world is falling apart."

Here are 14 things you should know about Graham and his politics.

  1. He has a reputation as a “Hawk” -- and he’s proud of it.

    Graham believes the key to successful foreign policy is the use of military force and has criticized Obama’s approach in the Middle East as being not aggressive enough. “We will never enjoy peaceful coexistence with radical Islam because its followers are committed to destroying us and our way of life,” he said in a statement. “However, America can have 'security through strength,' and I will continue to lead in that critical fight."

  2. He spent 30+ years in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

    He just announced his retirement on May 28th, 2015, because he's turning 60--the mandatory age of retirement for the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He holds the rank of Colonel and said in a statement, “I’m going to miss it an awful lot, and I wouldn’t leave if they weren’t making me.”

  3. He used to be a lawyer.

    Before he was elected to the House of Representatives, Graham served as an Air Force Lawyer for six years and then worked in a private practice for four years.

  4. Both of his parents died while he was in college.

    While he was a student at the University of South Carolina, Graham’s 52-year-old mom died of Hodgkin lymphoma. Just over a year later, his 69-year-old dad died of a heart attack. Graham’s sister Darline was thirteen years old at the time, and Graham took care of her, adopting her so she could get his military benefits after he joined the Air Force.

  5. He has tried to get two presidents impeached.

    Graham first saw the political spotlight when he played an active role in the Clinton impeachment trials in 1998. More recently, he threatened to try to have Obama impeached if he let anyone else out of Guantanamo Bay without Congressional approval.

  6. He's said some things about Iranians that have raised eyebrows.

    Graham recently made headlines when he said he knows “The Iranians are lying” because he met “a lot of liars” at the pool hall he worked in as a teenager and, “Everything I know about the Iranians I learned in the pool room.”

  7. He’s never sent an e-mail and he still uses a flip phone.

    Graham is only 59, but he says he’s never sent an e-mail. During the debate about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail address while she was serving as secretary of state, Graham was asked in an NBC interview if he had a private e-mail account. His response: “I don’t e-mail. No, you can have every e-mail I’ve ever sent. I’ve never sent one.”

  8. He has never been married and doesn’t have any children.

    As a result, there have long been rumors that Graham is gay, but they’ve all gone unproven. When the New York Times Magazine asked him about it in 2010, he responded, "I know it's really gonna upset a lot of gay men -- I'm sure hundreds of 'em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge -- but I ain't available. I ain't gay. Sorry."

  9. He opposes marriage equality

    Graham has supported a federal ban on same-sex marriage, voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (a law that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity), and voted against allowing LGBT couples to adopt children in D.C. He has also compared same-sex marriage to polygamy. More recently, he’s softened his stance and has said that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, “It will be time for us to move forward as a society.”

  10. He’s anti-abortion

    Graham was the original author of the 1997 “Unborn Victims of Violence Act.” He also proposed legislation that would ban late-term abortions, with notable exceptions for women who were raped or whose lives are in danger. At the time he claimed to know twins who were born at 20 weeks, which the Huffington Post pointed out was, scientifically, “very unlikely to be true.”

  11. He’s pro-gun

    According to his website, Graham is a lifelong gun-owner and “has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and recently received high praise from the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris Cox for his ‘tireless leadership in the U.S. Senate in protecting gun owners from President Obama’s most recent attack on our constitutional freedoms.’" Graham was also recognized as the 2013 “Legislator of the Year” by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

  12. But he has criticized the Tea Party Movement

    In 2010 he told the New York Times “The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out.”

  13. And he holds different views on immigration than most Republicans

    Graham believes that certain immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. undocumented until they’re able to obtain citizenship and has said he wants to find a “practical solution” to immigration reform.

  14. He’s BFFs with John McCain

    The two spend so much time together and share so many of the same views that McCain has joked that Graham is his “illegitimate son.”