In newly released audio, Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said that President Joe Biden was the "best person to have" leading the nation after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
On CNN Tuesday, New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin shared audio of an interview with Graham from Jan. 6, 2021, after rioters breached the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to interrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, which declared Biden the winner.
The interview was taken for Burns and Martin's new book, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.”
“We’ll actually come out of this thing stronger. Moments like this reset. People will calm down. People will say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that,’” Graham is heard saying in the audio clip. "This is a group within a group. What this does, there will be a rallying effect for a while, the country says, ‘We’re better than this.'”
When Martin asked if the newly elected Biden would help unite the country, Graham instantly agreed, telling him that Biden was perhaps the best person to have in the White House.
"Biden will help that, right?" Martin asked.
"Totally, he'll be maybe the best person to have, right? I mean, how mad can you get at Joe Biden?" Graham replied.
As it turned out, Lindsey Graham himself would appear very mad at Joe Biden one year later.
On the anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot, Graham blasted both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for what he called the "brazen politicization of January 6." In a speech that day, Biden accused former President Donald Trump of instigating an "armed insurrection" at the Capitol to "prevent the peaceful transfer of power." The president also used the anniversary of the riot to attack Republican-backed state election security laws and push for federal election reform that would undo those laws.
"President Biden and Vice President Harris’s speeches today were an effort to resurrect a failed presidency more than marking the anniversary of a dark day in American history," Graham said on Jan. 6, 2022.
"Their brazen attempts to use January 6 to support radical election reform and changing the rules of the Senate to accomplish this goal will not succeed," he added.
Though Graham has called Biden a "friend," he has also said their relationship has soured since the bungled U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“I’ve known Joe Biden for a long time, I had a good personal relationship with him. He’s a decent man. But what he did in Afghanistan, I will never forgive him for. He has blood on his hands, and he’s made America less safe,” Graham told Fox News last November.
In a statement to The Hill, Graham's office said he "has repeatedly said the Joe Biden we see as president is not the one we saw when he served in the Senate.”
"He's pursued a far-left agenda as president," Graham's office said.