Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) disparaged then-President Donald Trump and said Joe Biden was "maybe the best person to have" following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The key Trump ally bemoaned that Trump overplayed his hand in his 2020 election subversion ventures in an interview after the riot with Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, authors of This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.


“He's misjudged the passion, he plays the TV game, and he went too far here. That rally didn’t help, talking about primarying Liz. He created a sense of revenge,” Graham said in audio released by CNN Tuesday, referring to Trump's support for a primary challenge of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).

Graham's remarks came directly after the Capitol riot, when outrage over the storming of the Capitol was fresh. When asked if Biden could help unify the country, Graham replied, "Totally."

“He’ll maybe be the best person to have," Graham said. "I mean, how mad can you get at Joe Biden?"

Things have changed between Graham and Biden since then. Once close workmates in the Senate, Biden is now reportedly disillusioned by Graham's support of Trump, and the senator has maligned the president's policies.

"The Joe Biden we see as president is not the one we saw in the Senate. He’s pursued a far-left agenda as president,” a representative from Graham told CNN.

“Moments like this reset. People will calm down. People will say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that,’" Graham said in another audio excerpt from Martin and Burns. "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.’”

His private comments echoed some of his public sentiments at the time. Graham was shaken by the assault on the Capitol, noting that "they could have killed us all."

“I think it’s a uniquely bad idea to delay this election. Trump and I, we had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way. I hate it being this way,” he said. “All I can say is, 'Count me out. Enough is enough,'” Graham said after the Capitol riot.


The Graham revelations parallel a tape of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released last month after he denied a report from Martin and Burns that he fretted over his GOP colleagues possibly inciting more violence and suggesting he should resign. In another tape, McCarthy panned Trump and said the 25th Amendment "takes too long."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also disparaged the president, privately telling colleagues, "The Democrats are going to take care of the son of a b**** for us," during a Jan. 11, 2021, lunch, according to Martin and Burns. “If this isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is."