Democrat Joe Biden is “the best person” to lead the US, the Republican senator and fervent Donald Trump supporter Lindsey Graham said in tapes released on Monday by the authors of a bestselling political book.
The South Carolina senator was speaking on and shortly after 6 January 2021 to Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, now authors of This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.
On 6 January 2021, shortly before the US Capitol was attacked, Trump told supporters to “fight like hell” in service of his lie that his defeat by Biden in the 2020 election was caused by voter fraud.
A bipartisan Senate committee has linked seven deaths to the riot that followed, an unsuccessful attempt to stop certification of electoral college results.
“Moments like this reset,” Graham said that day, in a tape played on CNN on Tuesday.
“People will calm down. People will say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that.’ This is a group within a group. What this does, there will be a rallying effect for a while, [then] the country says ‘We’re better than this.’”
Asked if Biden could help the country come together again, Graham said: “Totally.”
“He’ll maybe be the best person to have. I mean, how mad can you get at Joe Biden?”
In the year and a half since the Capitol riot, much of the country, and most Republicans, have stayed mad at Biden. The president’s approval numbers continue to plumb depths similar to those charted by Trump while he was in office.
In other taped remarks played by Martin and Burns, Graham said Trump “misjudged the passion” of his supporters.
“He plays the TV game and he went too far here,” the senator was heard to say. “That rally didn’t help, talking about primarying” the Wyoming representative Liz Cheney, a member of the House January 6 committee.
“He created a sense of revenge.”
Trump remains the dominant force in the Republican party, endorsing candidates in primaries and seemingly readying another run for the presidency in 2024.
A spokesperson for Graham told CNN: “The Joe Biden we see as president is not the one we saw in the Senate. He’s pursued a far-left agenda as president.”