CNN Anchor Mocks Lindsey Graham's Defense of 'Large Malevolent Child' Donald Trump: 'This Is the Descent of Man'

CNN anchor John Avlon strongly criticized Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's attempt to defend President Donald Trump against a Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, characterizing it as "the descent of man."

Speaking during a segment of CNN's New Day program, Avlon highlighted how Graham's defense of the president has shifted over the past few weeks. The GOP congressman from South Carolina had earlier suggested he may change his mind about impeachment if there was a clear quid pro quo. However, now that multiple credible witnesses have testified that nearly $400 million in military aid was withheld to Ukraine as part of Trump's efforts to pressure Ukrainian leaders to open investigations against his political rivals, he has continued to dismiss the investigation.

"This is the descent of man being acted out by Lindsey Graham," Avlon, who is also a senior political analyst for CNN, said. "A few weeks ago, it was, 'look, if there's any objective evidence of a quid pro quo I'd be real concerned.' Now we have basically consensus evidence of quid pro quo, and instead, Lindsey Graham is saying, 'I'm not gonna read the transcripts.' A literal know nothing position as opposed to confronting the facts," the journalist said.

Avlon said that Graham has now essentially suggested that Trump's too "incompetent" and a "large malevolent child," who could not actually formulate a quid pro quo. "Stop beating up on the baby," the anchor quipped, asserting this was the senator's defense. "This is the argument of one of his [Trump's] staunchest defenders ... it's nuts."

Graham on Tuesday said, as Avlon noted, that he had simply dismissed the entire impeachment process and wouldn't consider the testimony of credible witnesses. "I've written the whole process off," he said, according to a reporter for CBS News. "I think this is a bunch of B.S."

On Wednesday, Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill that Trump's Ukraine policy was "incoherent." The senator argued that the president's administration seems to be "incapable of forming a quid pro quo," arguing that the impeachment process is "a sham."

Graham said in October that he was open to changing his mind about the impeachment process. "If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing," he told Axios. Now, according to his more recent statements, Graham appears to not be interested in reviewing the available evidence.

Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham
President Donald Trump speaks to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) during an event about judicial confirmations at the White House on November 6 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty

Representative Jerrold Nadler also criticized Graham's latest defense of the president in an interview with CNN Thursday.

"It's a hell of a thing to say about the administration, especially the administration of your own party, that they're incompetent in foreign affairs where life and death is at stake," Nadler pointed out.

"But second of all ... that's not a defense. There's plenty of evidence of what they did," he asserted.

CNN Anchor Mocks Lindsey Graham's Defense of 'Large Malevolent Child' Donald Trump: 'This Is the Descent of Man' | U.S.