Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has done an about-face on President Donald Trump, whom he once dismissed as an unqualified “kook,” and now tries to provoke him into taking various military actions.
The hawkish senator has become a frequent golf partner and outspoken defender of Trump, his former GOP presidential rival, and he’s tried to leverage his close relationship to push the president into war, reported The Daily Beast.
Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear,” describes a White House meeting where Graham recommended that Trump encourage the Chinese government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and replace him with a general who China could “control.”
Graham also trashes the Obama administration to push Trump to adopt a foreign policy more in line with recent Republican presidents than the isolationist position he campaigned on.
“Do you want on your resume that you allowed Afghanistan to go back into the darkness and the second 9/11 came from the very place the first 9/11 did?” Graham asked the president, according to Woodward.
Trump reportedly asked how the war would end, and Graham told him the fight would never end.
“It’s good versus evil,” Graham said. “Good versus evil never ends.”
The president told Graham last year during a private conversation that he was open to war with North Korea — which the South Carolina Republican has said was “inevitable.”
“There is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program and North Korea itself,” Graham said. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die over here — and [Trump has] told me that to my face.”
Woodward reported that Trump ordered Defense Secretary James Mattis to “f*cking kill” Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, which military leaders ignored, but Graham insisted the president was right.
We should have killed the bastard, I am dead serious,” Graham told The Daily Beast. “After he used chemical weapons the second time we should have done with him what we tried to do with [Muammar] Qaddafi. That was a big mistake.”
Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop declined to comment on the reporting in Woodward’s book, but he admitted Graham has tried to push Trump to adopt a more hawkish foreign policy — even as other Republicans slammed his position.
“Lindsey Graham has been virtually wrong on every foreign policy decision in the last two decades. From Iraq to Libya to North Korea,” said one senior GOP congressional aide. “We would be at war with half the world if Lindsey had it his way. Candidate Trump was right when he tweeted that Graham has zero credibility.”\