- Sen. Lindsey Graham reportedly told Donald Trump he had messed up his presidency after his 2020 defeat.
- The GOP Senator believed Trump was vital to Republican efforts to regain control and wanted him to focus on the future.
- A forthcoming book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa details the conversation and the final days of Trump’s presidency.
As the Republican party struggled to maintain control following former President Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had dubbed the “Trump Whisperer,” believed the party needed Trump and his dedicated base to regain political power, according to an excerpt from a forthcoming book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that was obtained by CNN.
But the longtime Trump ally reportedly hit a nerve with the wounded president after delivering a hard truth.
“You fucked your presidency up,” Graham said to Trump in a phone call, according to Woodward and Costa.
Trump responded to the diss by abruptly hanging up the phone, CNN reported, citing the book.
According to the outlet’s coverage of the book preview, the two men spoke again the next day, and Graham told Trump he didn’t blame him for hanging up. But the South Carolina Republican did urge the then-president to focus on the future, not the past, in order to maximize the GOP’s chance at reclaiming power.
During the follow-up conversation, Trump reportedly worried that he would “lose my base” if he changed his behavior. Graham responded by telling Trump to look toward 2024, saying it could be the “biggest comeback in American history,” according to CNN.
Woodward and Costa, who are both reporters for The Washington Post, described Graham as “an addiction counselor struggling to keep his patient from taking one more drink,” according to CNN.
Graham had previously told the president “we can’t do it without you, Mr. President,” during a round of gold in May, the outlet reported.
“I think he’s redeemable,” Graham said about Trump, according to Woodward and Costa. “I think he’s got magic and I think he’s got darkness.”
The insight into the Republican Party’s post-election infighting is just one of several juicy details promised to be divulged in Woodward and Costa’s “Peril,” which focuses on the final weeks of Trump’s presidency and is set to be released next week.