The remark, which drew quick condemnation from Graham's Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, came during discussion of Supreme Court super precedent - rulings that the court no longer hears cases on, unlike Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed abortion rights.
He quickly got pummeled by his Democratic opponent for the quip.
On Wednesday, Graham claimed the comment was made in sarcasm.
Graham is an unexpectedly tight race against Democrat Jamie Harrison for his seat in SC.
'Lindsey Graham just called segregation "the good old days".
The overlapping bad optics of thanking the GOP for a hearing her own party blasts as a "sham", physically embracing an opposition senator who is now facing a stiff Democratic challenger, and publicly flouting CDC guidelines about the coronavirus unleashed a torrent of angry criticism at the six-term senator. It's 2020, not 1920.
"One of the reasons you can say with confidence that you think Brown v. Board of Education is a super precedent is you are not aware of any effort to go back to the good old days of segregation by a legislative body.Is that correct?"
The landmark 9-0 Brown versus Board of Education decision ruled that segregation of schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14 amendment. "I think the contest in SC has taken on sort of a national profile". "I've been a United States Senator for three terms".
He chided Harrison for 'a game we're playing here with the people of SC'. We have plenty of differences with Mr. Harrison, ' Graham said.
"I want to assure the people of SC that statement was made with dripping sarcasm", he added. That race's most recent debate had to be restructured into a virtual forum because Graham has repeatedly refused to take a Covid test, despite his having been exposed to the White House outbreak several weeks ago.
Harrison set a Senate fundraising record, raising $57 million in the third quarter, beating out the previous record held by Rep. Beto O'Rourke for raising $38.1 million in his bid to oust Texas Republican Sen.