Over the weekend, Jon Cooper, chairman of the Democratic Coalition, took to Twitter to ring the alarm, stating that in conversation with an unnamed Republican official, he was informed that "[Graham] is kowtowing to Trump (and indirectly Putin) because he's being blackmailed over his sexual orientation (an open secret) or even financial corruption."
"Rather, [the unidentified official] thinks it probably involves some pretty serious sexual kink," Cooper added, before noting that "there's a strong likelihood that [Graham's] being blackmailed by the Russians."
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) January 14, 2019
Within moments, Glenn Greenwald, journalist and one of three co-founders for The Intercept, took to calling out Cooper for his remarks, calling them "repulsive, homophobic gutter trash."
"And, of course, this tweet from @TheDemCoalition spreading homophobic garbage about Lindsey Graham predictably and, by design, provokes even more disgusting & harmful progressive homophobia about gay men being pedophiles," he continued.
However, Cooper isn't the only one to have recently suggested that Graham's sudden support for Trump's policies had something to do with the Republican lawmaker's sexual preferences.
"Holy, f**k f**k. I just saw the video of Trump's bipartisan ‘meeting' yesterday," Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted last week before deciding to use homosexuality as a punchline. "Hey, [Graham] what kind of d**k sucking video do they have on you for you [to] be acting like this? Wouldn't coming out be more honorable?"
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) January 11, 2018
To no surprise, Handler's remarks weren't taken well by netizens, especially by those who considered the New Jersey native an ally to the LGBTQI+ community.
— Kevin Dorlon (@kevin_dorlon) January 12, 2018
— ahmed zone (@zone_ahmed) January 13, 2018
— Chris Croy (@tellcroy) January 12, 2018
— Neil Fitzgerald (@NeilFitzUk) January 12, 2018
— Eli Matthewson (@EliMatthewson) January 12, 2018
Graham previously addressed rumors regarding his sexuality in 2010 during an interview with the New York Times Magazine. At the time, the lawmaker was addressing an incident during a South Carolina Tea Party rally where one of the event's speakers suggested that Graham supported a program out of fear that Democrats would expose him.
"Like maybe I'm having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin," he told the outlet. "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."
Homophobia has been a theme among Russiagate proponents almost since the beginning. Last July, the New York Times came under fire after it republished a satirical video cartoon that depicted Trump in a sexual relationship with Putin. That video, called "A Love Story," was recirculated by the publication ahead of the two world leaders' Helsinki meeting.
— 🎊Kamala Harris is a Cop (@BethLynch2020) July 18, 2018
Protesters, too, have jumped on the bandwagon, with many vulgar suggestions that Trump is somehow sexually subordinate to Putin and therefore obviously politically subordinate to him as well. Late show host Stephen Colbert in a May 2018 monologue said the only thing Trump's mouth was good for "is being Vladimir Putin's c*ck holster."
In August 2018, a Sputnik correspondent saw "heavy use of homophobic slurs" being issued against both Putin and Trump at a demonstration outside the White House. Pictures from the event detailed posters that read, "Dear Donald, go walk on a giant d**k."
In December 2018, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski landed in hot water after she suggested that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a "wannabe dictator's butt boy." Brzezinski, who was referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, later apologized for the homophobic remark, telling netizens she should've said "water boy."