Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly told former President Donald Trump that the defeated, one-term chief executive’s volatile nature had “f*****…up” his time in office, a forthcoming book by the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reveals.
In Peril, Mr Woodward and Mr Costa report that Mr Graham admonished Mr Trump during one of the myriad phone calls between the South Carolina Republican and the ex-president this past summer.
“Your problem is too much drama, too much volatility,” Mr Graham said while advising Mr Trump that he could “fix [his] problems” more easily than President Biden could correct his own flaws, according to the book. He also reportedly criticised his close ally for perpetuating lies about the 2020 election, which Mr Trump lost.
“You keep saying the election was rigged and you were cheated – you lost a close election,” the senator continued.
After he told Mr Trump: “You f***** your presidency up,” the twice-impeached former president reportedly hung up the phone.
Mr Trump, who became the first sitting president in more than two decades to lose his re-election bid last November, has continuously lied about the existence of fraud in the multiple swing states that he lost. He began making false allegations of fraud months before the election took place and stuck to those lies after it became clear that he had lost.
His repetition of them incited his followers to riot at the Capitol in hopes of disrupting Congress’ certification of Mr Biden’s victory on 6 January, according to court documents in many of the hundreds of criminal cases brought against Trump supporters who breached the Capitol that day. To this day, Mr Trump continues to claim that his loss was due to fraud and falsely allege that Mr Biden was not legitimately elected.
Although Peril describes Mr Graham as having accepted the legitimacy of Mr Trump’s loss, he was an active proponent of the idea that Mr Biden’s victory may have been in part reversible.
According to multiple news outlets, the South Carolina Republican is the subject of an investigation by Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, who is looking into a post-election phone call between Mr Graham and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Mr Raffensperger, a Republican, described the phone call in a November interview with the Washington Post, in which he claimed the senator asked whether Mr Raffensperger had authority as Georgia’s top elections official to discard results of postal balloting in a number of key counties. Mr Graham has denied the allegations.