Despite calling him a "race-baiting bigot" and claiming over the course of the 2016 campaign that the Republican party would be destroyed if it nominated him, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina emerged as one of Trump's most vocal allies in the Senate.
He repeatedly voted in line with Trump's agenda, often defended his most scandalous comments and mishaps, and echoed his lies that the 2020 election was stolen, even going so far as to pressure Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to reverse Biden's victory in the state.
But when Trump's election fantasies incited a deadly failed insurrection against the U.S. Capitol during the joint session of Congress certifying Biden's victory, Graham was singing a much different tune.
At least that's what an upcoming book, This Will Not Pass by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns of the New York Times, is reporting.
Axios obtained excerpts of the book, which revealed that—as the riot was unfolding—Graham vowed to pressure Trump's cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and, at least temporarily, remove him from office if he didn't urge his supporters to vacate the Capitol.
According to the book, Graham told White House counsel Pat Cipollone in a telephone conversation that if Trump didn't call off the riots,
"[W]e’ll be asking you for the 25th Amendment."
The 25th Amendment requires a declaration signed by at least half of a President's cabinet as well as the Vice President that the sitting President "is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." It essentially sidelines a President until said President issues a letter to the contrary, but if there's enough opposition from within the cabinet and from the Vice President to continue declaring the President unfit, the President's fitness is determined by Congress.
In the aftermath of the Capitol riot, there were public calls from Congress for Vice President Mike Pence—whom Trump supporters chanted to execute that day—to lead an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment, but Pence insisted he wouldn't heed these calls.
Trump was later impeached by the House of Representatives and tried in the Senate. Though votes for Trump's guilt fell short of the 2/3 threshold required to convict, it was the most bipartisan impeachment trial in American history. Graham voted to acquit Trump.
The new revelations from the book got social media users talking.
Would that be the Lindsey Graham who voted for acquittal when Trump was impeached on the same grounds? https://t.co/suFpSFITMt
— Tom Non-Holiday-Themed-Name Hilton (@TVHilton) March 17, 2022
I think the ship sailed on Lindsey’s threats after Trump gave out Graham’s personal cell phone at a presser in 2015, and Graham then spent the next 5 years cozying up to him https://t.co/ESRVq5ebtx
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) March 17, 2022
No wonder Trump abandoned him https://t.co/2uDlB7sCmS
— The Ghost of Kyiv enjoyer 🧦🌹🥑🇺🇦 (@DTOG0001) March 17, 2022
Lindsey Graham can go to hell. Honestly, he’s one of the worst. I just hope keeping his personal secrets hidden is worth destroying his party and his country. https://t.co/gd4eDb9Wpp
— Chip Pate (@WSPate) March 16, 2022
He's back to kissing his ass again. https://t.co/ElgxiuPNeh
— NewDemocrat4Life (@reesetheone1) March 16, 2022
While some were angered at what they saw as Graham's spinelessness, others criticized the book's authors for sitting on the information for more than a year.
-I subscribe to the @nytimes in order to receive timely news.
-The Times uses my subscription to pay reporters.
-Who hold these facts for 14 months. To goose sales of their books.
-Which nobody will read. Because the key facts are relayed (14 months late). In the NYT. https://t.co/U8Lk3m5aoH
— Jonah Blank (@JonahBlank) March 16, 2022
I wonder how Lindsey would have voted if this tidbit had come out before the Trump’s second impeachment vote? https://t.co/C6FXtKTJs8
— Myles Ethan Lascity (@elascity) March 16, 2022
Don't buy books with information inside that should've been made public the moment it was known. https://t.co/2grmgoOCca
— CavsKermit (@JbkJbk1234) March 16, 2022
Graham hasn't yet addressed the reporting.