South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham admitted he urged President Trump to speak with journalist Bob Woodward for his new book, Rage.
Graham, a Republican who is up for reelection this year, explained to the Daily Beast that he encouraged Trump to talk to the Watergate sleuth because it would give him a chance to tell his side of the story, unlike with the last book Woodward wrote, 2018’s Fear.
“The last book Woodward wrote, Trump said he didn’t know that he had wanted to be interviewed. So I said, well, the guy is a well-known presidential author. And, you know, you got a chance to tell your side of the story. The president agreed, and there you go,” Graham said.
Recordings from Woodward’s interviews, which were published Wednesday, have already led Trump to face intense criticism concerning remarks he made about downplaying the coronavirus early on in the pandemic. He also wrote that former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats believed Russian President Vladimir Putin “had something” on Trump.
Many criticized Trump and members of his inner circle for doing 18 on-the-record interviews with Woodward, whose book is due to hit bookshelves on Tuesday. Fox News host Tucker Carlson specifically questioned why Graham encouraged Trump to do the interviews.
“Lindsey Graham is supposed to be a Republican, so why would he do something like that? You would have to ask him. But keep in mind that Lindsey Graham has opposed, passionately opposed, virtually every major policy initiative that Donald Trump articulated when he first ran,” Carlson said.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Wednesday that Trump chose to do the interviews with Woodward because he is the “most transparent” president in history.