Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and his Democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison, were supposed to debate each other Friday night, but the event was canceled earlier in the day.
Harrison refused to debate unless Graham took a COVID-19 test, something the three-term senator insisted was a last-minute change and that the candidates had already agreed to terms for the debate.
“Appears @harrisonjaime is skipping tonights debate. Mr. Harrision is ducking the debate because the more we know about his radical policies, the less likely he is to win. It’s not about medicine, its politics. His liberal views are a loser in South Carolina – and he knows it!” Graham said in a series of tweets. “Mr. Harrison is demanding special treatment. Other than Mr. Harrison, is any other South Carolinian demanding every person they come in contact with be tested before they meet?”
As The Hill reported, Harrison’s campaign responded by saying it was “disappointed.”
“We’re disappointed that Lindsey has failed to take a simple coronavirus test, but we appreciate our hosts were able to change the event format to make it safer for everyone,” Harrison campaign spokesman Guy King said in a statement. “Jaime will be there in Spartanburg to talk to voters.”
After Harrison refused to participate in the debate, the format was changed to two separate 30-minute interviews with the candidates on local station WSPA.
The two candidates had debated the previous Saturday, with Harrison standing behind a symbolic plexiglass barrier. Graham had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to that debate, yet as The Daily Wire previously reported, Harrison still stood behind a useless shield that ended just a few inches over his head. As MRCTV reported at the time, the partition was “supposedly meant to stave off an airborne flu” even though it was barely taller than Harrison.
Harrison’s stunt seemed to inspire Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who demanded a plexiglass shield of her own when debating Vice President Mike Pence. Pence had also tested negative for COVID-19 after President Donald Trump tested positive and spent several days under medical supervision at Walter Reed Medical Center.
Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller mocked Harris for wanting the meaningless shield, saying, “If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it.” More from The Daily Wire:
Pence and Harris will now sit 13 feet apart on the debate stage – an increase from the previous seven feet – and be separated by the plexiglass. Both Harris and Pence have tested negative for COVID-19.
As USA Today reported, the Commission on Presidential Debates made the announcement on Monday that plexiglass would separate the candidates, as well as other health safety protocols such as testing and masks. The commission said anyone who does not wear a mask inside the debate hall will be removed.
The candidates did end up sitting with plexiglass between them.