On Thursday, the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was invited to the talk show to discuss politics with the hosts. Their conversation turned to right to abortion and same-sex marriage rights, which led to a discussion of Mr. Graham and his new bill banning abortion nationwide.
“Senator Graham said about a month ago, at the beginning of August, that he believed that when it came to marriage, when it came to abortion, it was up to the states to decide, so Senator Graham , what changed?” Ms. Jean-Pierre asked during the show.
Goldberg replied, “Well, maybe he’s getting married? Do it fast, because I know people are having fun with our marriage rights, wherever you are.”
The show paused for a commercial, and when it returned, Goldberg looked into the camera and explained his joke.
“I have to clarify that I was doing what I do as a comedian. Sometimes I make jokes, and it was a joke, nothing more,” she said. “I just had a whole conversation about people misunderstanding the joke. I mean, okay. I should probably never do this show again, if that’s what it ends up being. It was a kidding, guys.”
Goldberg did not say who she had an “entire conversation” with during the break.
The joke probably referred to a persistent rumor, often spread in liberal circles, that Mr Graham is a closeted homosexual. Rumors often center on the fact that Mr Graham is single, has never had children and is inspired by stereotypes about the ways of gay men. According to Washington Postin 2020, a gay adult film star claimed that Mr. Graham often hired male sex workers and was even known within the community as “Mr. G.”
Comedian Bill Maher also invoked the Mr Graham rumor in 2019, devoting a entire segment on his late night show politically incorrect to suggest that the senator is homosexual.
In a segment titled “24 Things You Don’t Know About Me” that was presented as if Mr. Graham had written it himself, Maher needled the senator. Some of the items on the list jokingly said Mr Graham burned calories ‘skipping at work’ and employed a dozen pool boys ‘even though I don’t own a pool’.
Whether or not it is acceptable to ridicule Mr. Graham over the rumors is a matter of opinion. What is a fact is that Mr Graham’s abortion bill has alarmed some doctors, who have said they fear it could trigger a health care crisis in America.
The Associated press obtained a preliminary analysis of the impact of the bill, should it pass, written by Jennifer Klein, chair of the White House Gender Policy Council.
“If passed and signed into law, this bill would create a nationwide health crisis, putting the health and lives of women in all 50 states at risk,” she wrote. “It would transform the practice of medicine, opening the door for doctors to be thrown into jail if they fulfill their duty of care to patients according to their best medical judgment.”
Mr. Graham’s bill would effectively ban abortion in the United States with limited exceptions. However, it is also probably dead in the water, as the Democrats control both the House and the Senate and would never allow such a bill to survive and GOP leaders hesitated to support him.