‘How mad can you get at Joe Biden?’
Senator Lindsey Graham said President Joe Biden was the best person to help the US “reset” and come out “stronger” from the aftermath of the 6 January 2021 attack on the Capitol, according to recordings released by a pair of New York Times reporters and played on CNN.
“Moments like this reset. People will calm down. People will say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that,'” Mr Graham said while speaking with reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns shortly after a mob of Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in hopes of preventing Congress from certifying Mr Biden’s 2020 election victory.
“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 whether Mr Biden would help that process, Mr Graham replied: “Totally”.
“He’ll maybe be the best person to have,” he said. “I mean — how mad can you get at Joe Biden?”
A second recording captured Mr Graham saying he thought Mr Trump “misjudged the passion” of his supporters and slamming the ex-president for speaking at the rally which immediately preceded the riot.
“He plays the TV game and he went too far here,” Mr Graham said. “That rally didn’t help, talking about primarying Liz [Cheney] — he created a sense of revenge”.
Mr Graham’s statements regarding Mr Trump reflect the South Carolina Republican’s brief break with the ex-president in the wake of the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814.
Speaking on the Senate floor just hours after rioters had been cleared from the building, he declared his support for the then-president was at an end in a fiery floor speech.
“All I can say is count me out, enough is enough — when it’s over, it is over,” he said at the time.
But Mr Graham reversed course after being confronted by Trump supporters in a Washington, DC airport, and is now once again one of Mr Trump’s staunchest defenders.