Sen. Lindsey Graham joked Tuesday that it would be “terrible” if a DNA test showed that he has Iranian heritage.
The South Carolina Republican made the remark as part of a joke about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent DNA test to prove her claims of Native American ancestry. He vowed that he would soon take the test himself, saying “I think I can beat her” in regard to Native American heritage.
“I’ve been told that my grandmother was part Cherokee Indian,” he said on “Fox & Friends.” “It may all be just talk, but you’re going to find out in a couple of weeks because I’m going to take this test. … I’m taking it, and the results are going to be revealed here. This is my Trump moment. This is reality TV.”
He later added, “I’ll probably be Iranian. That’d be, like, terrible.”
“Well, they have great people, just bad leaders,” co-host Brian Kilmeade said.
“Yeah, bad leaders. I’m not in the Ayatollah branch,” Graham replied.
Asked Wednesday if Graham had anything to add or clarify, a spokeswoman referred to comments he made later Tuesday on “Fox News @ Night.”
“It was a joke and it was directed at the Ayatollah, not the Iranian people,” he said to host Shannon Bream, adding, “If you know anything about me, you’re an Iranian dissident, I’m on your side.”
Graham was not the only top Senate Republican to tweak Warren over the test. GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah ribbed Warren in a tweet on Monday that also poked fun at himself with a graphic saying his DNA results showed he descended from dinosaurs.
On Tuesday night, Trump went after Warren on Twitter, saying, “Elizabeth Warren is being hammered, even by the Left. Her false claim of Indian heritage is only selling to VERY LOW I.Q. individuals!”
Trump has long seized on attack lines about Warren claiming Native American ancestry and mocked her with the nickname “Pocahontas.” In a move to push back on the attacks, Warren released details of her background on Monday, including a DNA analysis that said she has distant Native American ancestry. Warren also called on Trump to donate $1 million to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, referencing his line in a campaign rally that he would donate $1 million to a charity of her choosing if she took a DNA test and the test “shows you’re an Indian.”
Trump dismissed the moves from Warren and continued calling her “Pocahontas” on Tuesday. He also said he would not pay the $1 million until she won the Democratic presidential nomination and unless he administered the test personally.
“I’ll only do it if I can test her personally,” he said. “This is not something I would enjoy doing either.”
CNN’s Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.