South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham attempted to defend his defence of then-president Donald Trump’s conduct during his first impeachment, describing him to a pair of veteran Washington reporters as a liar and using expletives.
In their upcoming book The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-2021, authors Peter Baker and Susan Glasser recall how they met with Mr Graham outside a Washington DC steakhouse less than 48 hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into whether Mr Trump had extorted the president of Ukraine in a now-infamous July 2019 phone call. The Independent obtained a copy ahead of its 20 September publication date.
Standing on the sidewalk on 19th Street in Northwest Washington, Mr Graham bragged about his access to Mr Trump and told the husband-and-wife author duo about Mr Trump’s boasts regarding his closeness with evangelical pastors who’d met with him the day before. He said Mr Trump had told him: “Those f***ing Christians love me”.
Mr Graham had already declared that it would be “insane” for Democrats to impeach Mr Trump over the Ukraine controversy, but he confided to Mr Baker and Ms Glasser that he was not blind to what the then-president had done.
“He’s a lying motherf***er,” Mr Graham said, adding the caveat that Mr Trump was also “a lot of fun to hang out with”.
Continuing, the senator justified his defence of the then-president by noting that he was the leader of the Republican Party.
“He could kill fifty people on our side and it wouldn’t matter,” he said.