Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the White House during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and threatened to have then-President Donald Trump removed from office if he didn’t aggressively condemn the rioters, according to a new book.
Graham phoned White House counsel Pat Cipollone as the Capitol attack unfolded and said, “We’ll be asking for the 25th Amendment,” authors Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns wrote in “This Will Not Pass.” Axios published an excerpt.
The 25th Amendment would have allowed then-Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president unfit for office and temporarily promote Pence, CNN previously reported. If Trump were to have objected, then a supermajority of the House and Senate would have been required to strip him of his duties.
Invoking the 25th Amendment was “frequently discussed” during Trump’s time in office, The Hill wrote.
Graham told the “This Will Not Pass” authors later on the night of Jan. 6 that he hoped the insurgency would eventually unite the country, according to a passage shared by Axios.
“People will say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that.’ … There will be a rallying effect for a while, the country says: We’re better than this,” Graham said, per Axios.
The senator even suggested President-elect Joe Biden was a good fit for the tumultuous time. “I mean, how mad can you get at Joe Biden,” he reportedly said.
Graham was among Trump’s most ardent defenders during his presidency, but publicly declared on the evening of Jan. 6: “All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.” He quickly backtracked and fell back into line with Trump, although he recently criticized Trump’s vow to pardon the insurrectionists.
Graham’s office told The Hill it had no comment. HuffPost was unable to immediately reach a spokesperson.