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Graham Tried to Walk Back His Attacks on Hunter Biden After the Election and Joe Biden Wasn't Having It

Graham Tried to Walk Back His Attacks on Hunter Biden After the Election and Joe Biden Wasn't Having It
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images // Alex Wong/Getty Images

Throughout the 2020 campaign, the past and business dealings of then-candidate Joe Biden's son—Hunter—were major talking points for Republican supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

Trump even secured his first impeachment by attempting to withhold resources for Ukraine on the condition that its President investigate the Bidens.

Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, trotted out a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden with supposedly damning evidence on its hard drive. Hunter Biden's struggles with addiction became a Republican centerpiece of Trump's impeachment hearings and of the presidential debates.

Few Republican lawmakers trafficked in gossip about Hunter Biden more than Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. He accused Hunter Biden of using Ukraine as an "ATM Machine" and continued to smear the Bidens even after the election was over.

But in private, Graham expressed contrition toward now-President Joe Biden, his longtime friend, once he'd defeated Trump in the general election, according to a new profile in the New York Times.

According to the Times, the previously unreported conversation between Biden and Graham

"was short, and not especially sweet, according to three people with direct knowledge of the exchange. Mr. Graham told Mr. Biden that, in attacking Hunter, he had done only the bare minimum to satisfy Trump supporters back home. (A Graham spokesman disputed that account.)"

The profile goes on to say that Biden expressed willingness to work with any Republican, but saw Graham's antics as "an unforgivable attack on his family," further believing Graham's contrition was the Senator "trying to have it both ways".

Americans just learning about the conversation had the same judgment.

They praised Biden's response.

Days after the phone call, Biden described Graham as a "personal disappointment".