Lindsey Graham Told Trump to Assassinate Kim Jong Un With Chinese Help, Woodward Book Claims

As the U.S. and North Korea approached the brink of conflict last year, at least one influential senator was advocating for an extreme response to Kim Jong Un's stubborn weapons research, according to the revealing new Bob Woodward book, Fear: Trump in the White House.

In September 2017, while Pyongyang was conducting both nuclear and ballistic missile tests, South Carolina's Republican Senator Lindsey Graham advised President Donald Trump that Kim's assassination and replacement with a new military regime could bring an end to tension on the Korean Peninsula.

According to the veteran journalist's explosive new book, Lindsey made the pitch during a meeting with the president at the White House. The senator pressed Trump to ask the Chinese to remove the North Korean dictator. "China needs to kill him and replace him with a North Korean general they control," the senator said, adding, "The Chinese are clearly the key here and they need to take him out."

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is pictured behind President Donald Trump during an event with Republican lawmakers at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on December 20, 2017. Graham apparently told Trump in September 2017 that Kim Jong Un should be assassinated. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Graham even told Trump how he might convey his message to Beijing, suggesting he say, "The world is a dangerous place. I am not going to let this regime threaten our homeland with a nuclear weapon."

The meeting was apparently also attended by then-National Security Adviser HR McMaster and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

Graham has previously admitted to discussing North Korea with the president. In an August 2017 interview with the Today show, the senator touted "a military option" to the standoff, in which the U.S. would "to destroy North Korea's nuclear program and North Korea itself."

He continued, "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."

Fortunately, Trump and Kim eventually stepped back from the brink, despite a range of threats from both sides which varied from childish name-calling to warnings of nuclear "fire and fury," a phrase which eventually formed the name of another controversial book about the chaos within the Trump White House.

The two leaders' summit in Singapore remains one of Trump's proudest achievements. But most experts argue the meeting itself achieved nothing, and served only as propaganda coup for Kim. Trump also faced criticism for agreeing to stop joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises on the peninsula.

The president appeared to make his decision without consulting U.S. military officials or the South Korean government. Trump even described the contentious exercises as "provocative," language more commonly used by North Korea to describe the actions of the U.S. and South Korea.

Woodward's book paints Graham as a hawkish influence on the president. Not content with plotting assassination in North Korea, the senator also suggested Trump should commit more time and resources to Afghanistan.

"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?" the senator supposedly asked the president.

Trump has shown little interest in prosecuting the wars of his predecessors. He has been consistently critical of U.S. policy in Iraq, lukewarm on Afghanistan and demonstrated impatience to get American troops out of Syria.

Woodward claims the president replied to Graham, "Well, how does this end?" He was met with an ominous answer, in which the senator warned, "It never ends. It's good versus evil. Good versus evil never ends."

Neither the White House nor Graham's office immediately responded to a request for comment.