Late Thursday night, a former top aide to the late Sen. John McCain said that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had been "corrupted by ambition, corrupted by politics."
After Graham unloaded on Senate Democrats for orchestrating what he called a "charade" to smear Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misdeeds, former McCain advisor Steve Schmidt did not mince words when asked about Graham's tirade just a few hours earlier.
Brian Williams, host of 11th Hour on MSNBC, asked Schmidt about Graham's outburst from the Judiciary Committee dais Thursday afternoon:
"He's corrupted by ambition, corrupted by politics, and it's tragic because this country could use a statesman right now. And Lindsey Graham, for a long time, was on a path, that he'd be that person — that he'd be a figure of courage. That he'd be a serious person in a frivolous era."
Schmidt has had his fingerprints on multiple GOP leaders' careers over the last generation, but this summer he renounced the Republican Party, saying that it has become "fully the party of Trump." Schmidt played a role in helping bring Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin onto the McCain presidential ticket in 2008, a decision documented in the book-turned-film, Game Change. McCain, who had served in Congress since before Graham was first elected to the House in 1995, died in August of brain cancer.
On Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto University psychology professor, gave sworn testimony about a sexual attack during high school by Brett Kavanaugh, now a federal judge who President Donald Trump nominated to sit on the Supreme Court. Ford answered questions from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a prosecutor hired to ask questions for the all-male Republican panel. After Ford's testimony, Kavanaugh returned to the chambers and presented a defense of his prep jock, Ivy League pedigree.
Republicans have been criticized for not fully investigating Ford's charges against Kavanaugh and Democrats have been criticized for attempting to put off Trump's second Supreme Court nominee. Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed last year.
Democrats continued questions, digging into Kavanaugh's proclivities around drinking, only to have their questions turned and stalled by the federal judge seeking a lifetime appointment. Shortly thereafter, Graham capped off the day with an impassioned defense of Kavanaugh, citing glowing praise from the American Bar Association.