Lindsey Graham Announces Presidential Bid, Touting His Foreign Policy Credentials

He's the ninth Republican presidential candidate.

On Monday, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham announced he was running for president, adding to the growing list of Republican presidential candidates. Graham made the announcement by touting his hawkish foreign policy stances that, over the years, have made him one of the leading voices in the Senate on foreign policy issues. 

Speaking in the tiny town of Central, S.C., on Monday, Graham challenged the other 2016 contenders regarding foreign policy, singling out Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. "I've got one simple message: I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate in this race," Graham said. "That includes you, Hillary."

His campaign is expected to focus on fighting Islamic militants in the Middle East, stabilizing Iraq and curbing Iran's nuclear weapon ambitions. Graham has a history of striking a particularly bleak tone on issues of foreign policy — he infamously claimed that he would run in 2016 because "the world was falling apart" — and his speech on Monday was no different:

Simply put, radical Islam is running wild. They have more safe havens, more money, more weapons and more capability to strike our homeland than any time since 9/11. They are large, they are rich and they're entrenched. [As president, I would] make them small, poor and on the run. I'm afraid some Americans have grown tired of fighting them. 

I have bad news to share with you — the radical Islamists are not tired of fighting you.

Within GOP circles, Graham has carved a reputation for being a rogue Republican lawmaker of sorts, amassing a record of going against the party's consensus on a number of issues. Among others, Graham has vocally supported climate change, immigration reform and President Obama's Supreme Court justice nominations, contrary to the Republican stance. 

On Monday, he told the crowd in his hometown of Central:

I want to be president to protect our nation that we all love so much from all threats foreign and domestic. So get ready. I know I'm ready.

[Cover image via Ash Carter/Flickr]