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Budd and Graham talk foreign policy in joint Charlotte campaign stop

South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (right) speaks with N.C. Congressman Ted Budd (to his right) Monday in Charlotte.
Steve Harrison/WFAE
South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (far right) speaks with N.C. Congressman Ted Budd (second from right) Monday in Charlotte.

North Carolina GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd campaigned with South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham Monday in Charlotte, holding a discussion on national security issues.

Budd and Graham said that the Biden administration has been weak on foreign policy, which they said has emboldened the nation’s rivals and led to high energy prices.

Budd’s event came two days after Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey campaigned with Budd’s opponent, Democrat Cheri Beasley.

Budd and Graham noted that Russia seized Crimea under President Obama and attacked Ukraine again under President Biden.

“This issue of Putin invading Ukraine should have never have happened,” said Budd, a Congressman from Davie County.

He said that the United States' chaotic departure from Afghanistan led Russia to believe it could attack Ukraine.

“Had Afghanistan been properly managed with Joe Biden we would not have lost our 13 Marines, we wouldn’t have given up 70 to 90 million dollars of equipment that’s probably in the hands of the Chinese right now.”

After the forum, Budd was asked what he would do differently today to help Ukraine. President Joe Biden has mobilized much of Europe to support Ukraine, and the U.S. has sent billions of dollars in aid to the country.

“If Ukraine needs supplies, we need to give it to them,” Budd said. “I’m not talking about troops, I’m talking HIMARS, other technology, we need to be giving it to them and not having this policy of slow-rolling.”

HIMARS stands for high mobility artillery rocket system, a truck that can fire long-range missiles. The U.S., however, started sending Ukraine those weapons in June.

Graham said the U.S. should send tanks. And he said the U.S. should name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

“I reached out to the State Department,” Graham said. “They are still talking, but they are slow.”

The Biden administration has so far refused to do that, saying it would be counter-productive.

The forum was held at a rooftop terrace on West Trade Street. It was organized by Morgan Ortagus, a former spokesperson at the State Department in the Trump administration, and John Ratcliffe, the former U.S. Director of National Intelligence.

Polls have shown the Budd-Beasley race to be extremely close.

Budd in the past has said he doesn’t support abortion exceptions for rape and incest.

He did, however, co-sponsor a bill with Graham that would ban abortion after 15 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Budd was asked about abortion after the event. He did not address his position and instead called Beasley extreme for not supporting restrictions on abortion.

Beasley said in last week’s debate she would support some restrictions but hasn’t said what those are.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.