Lindsey Graham Tapes Praise Biden, Condemn Trump—Full Transcript

Audio tapes have emerged revealing Sen. Lindsey Graham praised Joe Biden as "the best person to have" as president in the wake of the January 6 attack while criticizing Donald Trump for his rhetoric.

The tapes, which New York Times reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin shared with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Anderson Cooper 360, show Graham, one of the biggest Trump allies in the Senate, suggesting that the country will come out "stronger" after the insurrection and that the incoming president, Biden, will help unify the nation.

Graham made the remarks on January 6, 2021, soon after the mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

Lindsey Graham biden
New audio footage reveals Lindsey Graham saying he thinks Joe Biden is the "best person" to have led the nation after January 6. Drew Angerer/ SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

"We'll actually come out of this thing stronger. Moments like this reset. People will calm down. People will say, 'I don't want to be associated with that.' This is a group within a group," Graham said.

"What this does, it'll be a rallying effect for a while, where the country says, 'We're better than this.'"

Graham is then asked if Biden would be able to make that happen, to which the senator replies: "Totally."

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

In a second tape, Graham also criticized Trump's rhetoric prior to the riot he was accused of inciting, with the South Carolina senator suggesting the former president "misjudged the passion."

"He plays the TV game and he went too far here," Graham said. "That rally didn't help, talking about primarying Liz [Cheney]. He created a sense of revenge."

Speaking to Cooper, Martin said Graham gave the interview from a secure location after the Capitol was evacuated on January 6, with police still trying to clear the scene.

Martin said that Graham was already "thinking ahead" about the fallout of the riot.

"He's thinking about the political impact on his party and thinking about the impact on the country," Martin said. "Could this 9/11 moment where the country rallies together."

Martin said that Biden was not able to unify the country as he vowed to in the wake of January 6 and partisan divisions had "deepened."

"Biden was not able to rally the country because he is sort of one more partisan actor on the political scene in this tribal moment," Martin said.

In a statement to Newsweek, Graham's spokesman Kevin Bishop suggested that the senator stands by his words, but "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."

"Even Democratic members of Congress have noted the radical difference. Rep. Abigail Spanberger said that President Biden was elected to be 'normal'. He was not elected 'to be FDR,'" Bishop added.

The newly released audiotapes are discussed in an upcoming book by Martin and Burns, This Will Not Pass.

It was previously reported that the book will also allege that Graham was prepared to ask the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office if the former president did not condemn his supporters who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results in favor of Biden.

Leaked audio footage from the New York Times reporters previously revealed that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said it would take "too long" to remove Trump from office during a call with GOP leaders on January 8, 2021.

Other leaked recordings showed that McCarthy told Rep. Liz Cheney that he planned to ask the former president to resign in the wake of the Capitol attack.

Update 05/11/22, 10 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Lindsay Graham's spokesperson Kevin Bishop.

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