As the Republican Party rallies around Donald Trump as its official nominee for president in Cleveland this week, half of South Carolina’s Republicans in Congress are sitting the party out – but only one out of dissent.
Sen. Tim Scott and Reps. Mark Sanford, Tom Rice and Joe Wilson are attending the four-day Republican National Convention.
Here is what the rest are up to this week.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM
It’s no surprise that Graham is skipping the convention. South Carolina’s senior senator has been an outspoken critic of Trump since the reality-TV businessman announced his candidacy. After ending his own presidential bid last December, Graham endorsed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and then threw his support behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in an effort to stop Trump.
You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.
Sen Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on CNN
Consistently blunt about his dislike of Trump, Graham earlier this year likened being a Republican with him as the nominee to being on the “team that bought a ticket on the Titanic after we saw the movie.” He has said he will not vote for Trump in November’s election, but will work to help other Republican candidates.
On Tuesday he followed through on that promise, stumping for Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey in Pittsburgh along with Scott. As the convention wraps up with Trump’s highly anticipated speech on Thursday, Graham plans to spend the rest of the week home to South Carolina.
REP. TREY GOWDY
Rep. Trey Gowdy is at home in South Carolina for most of the week, spending some time with family.
Like Graham, he also took some time during the convention week to support Republicans further down the ticket. He traveled to Gallatin, Tennessee, to speak at a campaign event for Republican colleague Rep. Diane Black, telling the audience, "I can't imagine serving without her."
Gowdy, who along with Scott and Gov. Nikki Haley endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio ahead of South Carolina’s presidential primary in February, endorsed Trump in May when the real-estate mogul became the presumptive nominee. Gowdy has kept quiet about the candidate since then.
Although Gowdy was not in Cleveland, a major theme on Tuesday was the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which he investigated and kept in the public eye for two years as chair of the Benghazi Committee. Gowdy’s probe was denounced by Democrats as an attempt to smear Hillary Clinton and hurt her chances of being elected. On Tuesday in Cleveland, Benghazi survivors Mark Geist and John Teigenat riled up the crowd, which erupted into chants of “Lock her up.”
REP. JEFF DUNCAN
Rep. Jeff Duncan is tied up with a work obligation that involves his counter-terrorism work with the Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. But he took to Facebook to “make it unmistakably clear” that he fully supports Trump for president and that his absence from the convention should not be read as a form of opposition.
I want to make it unmistakably clear to anyone in the liberal media attempting to make up controversy, that I fully support Donald J. Trump for president.
Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.
“While I campaigned for Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential primary, I have long defended much of what Donald Trump has said throughout his campaign,” he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday. Duncan was the first in the S.C. delegation to endorse Trump after he won the nomination, and attended a meeting with Trump and fellow House Republicans earlier this month.
REP. MICK MULVANEY
Mulvaney also is back in South Carolina, but keeping up with the convention and sharing his thoughts on social media.
On Tuesday he was on Facebook to weigh in on the controversy about Melania Trump’s Monday night speech, which was overshadowed by claims that the speech plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic convention address.
“It strikes me that it is very similar to just about every political speech ever given,” he said. “I mean, I think I’ve heard those lines a thousand times. I didn’t realize that you could plagiarize political platitudes.”