In leaked audio from Jan. 6, 2021, Graham is heard gushing about Biden’s upcoming administration.
Pour one out for the deceased friendship between Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, and President Biden — once a shining example of transcendent camaraderie in an era of rancorous partisanship, now relegated to the dustbins of history like so many other instances of naked political ambition trumping any semblance of relatable human emotions.
Still, it wasn’t so long ago that Graham — the most unctuously shameless of former President Donald Trump’s menagerie of professional sycophants — was not only singing Biden’s personal praises, but in fact lauding him as the ideal man for a post-Jan. 6 America. At least, in private.
In an audio recording debuted on CNN by New York Times journalists Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin on Tuesday night, Graham is heard waxing philosophical about the Trump-inspired insurrection on the United States Capitol and how it could serve as an inflection point for the nation, leading to a brighter future ahead.
“We will actually come out of this thing stronger,” Graham explained to Martin in the Jan. 6 interview, conducted as the Capitol was being cleared following the insurrection attempt.
“Moments like this reset,” Graham continued. “It’ll take a while. 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, where the country says, ‘We’re better than this.’”
“And Biden?” Martin then offered, prompting Graham to say with palpable relief in his voice that “he’ll be maybe the best person to have.”
“I mean, how mad can you get at Joe Biden?” Graham added.
The remarks are of a type with a 2015 HuffPost interview where Graham heaped praise on the then-vice president, calling Biden “as good a man as God ever created” and “the nicest person I think I’ve ever met in politics.” For his part, Biden had similar plaudits for Graham in 2013, claiming that “no matter what the hell he says about me, I still like him,” and even offering to help in Graham’s re-election campaigns.
Still, to hear Graham offer praise for Biden not just as a personal friend, but as a potential Great Man in History’s Unflinching Glare is particularly jarring given how unambiguously Graham reverted to his partisan sniping once Biden was actually in office. In an answer to his own bad-faith question, it turns out Lindsey Graham can actually get extremely mad at Joe Biden after all, saying just 10 months later that the U.S. withdrawal of troop from Afghanistan means Biden has “blood on his hands, and he’s made America less safe.”
“He’s been the most consistently wrong man on foreign policy in my lifetime,” Graham added.
Biden, for his part, was ready to declare his friendship with Graham over even before Graham’s private endorsement for his post-Jan. 6 administration, telling Stephen Colbert one month before Graham spoke with Martin that the senator’s behavior during the 2020 campaign means that “Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his.”
Still, if Graham has proven anything over his long career in politics, it’s that he’s hardly a man of strong convictions one way or another. Perhaps, if he senses the political winds blowing in a particularly opportune direction once again, he’ll decide that his friendship with Biden is strong as it ever was ... until it’s not, again.