Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused the Republican South Carolina senator of secretly trying to undermine Donald Trump.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson told the nation on Wednesday who to blame for Donald Trump's admission that he deliberately downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
On Wednesday, author Bob Woodward released audio recordings of Trump talking about the virus. In a February conversation, Trump admitted that the coronavirus was "more deadly than even your most strenuous flus," contradicting his public claims. In a March recording, Trump said that he "wanted to always play it down."
After the damaging recordings became public, senior Trump administration officials told The Daily Beast that Graham was one of those who encouraged Trump to talk to the legendary Watergate journalist. Graham acknowledged to the outlet that he had encouraged Trump to "tell your side of the story."
Wednesday night, Carlson used his show to lambaste Graham for Trump's comments, suggesting it was a plot by a secret Trump enemy to hurt the incumbent.
"What is surprising is that Donald Trump participated in making the book. The president sat for repeated interviews with Bob Woodward. Why in the world would he do that?" Carlson asked rhetorically. "It was Lindsey Graham who helped convince Donald Trump to talk to Bob Woodward — Lindsey Graham brokered that meeting. Lindsey Graham even sat in on the first interview between Bob Woodward and the president. How’d that turn out?”
Carlson then accused Graham of treachery, saying that the South Carolina Republican is "supposed to be a Republican," but opposed Trump in 2016.
"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. From ending illegal immigration, to pulling back from pointless wars, to maintaining law and order at home. Lindsey Graham was against all of that — more than many Democrats. So maybe you already know the answer.”
A Graham spokesperson did not respond immediately to an inquiry for this story.
But while Graham did differ with Trump on multiple points during the 2016 primary campaign, when both were candidates and Trump infamously gave out Graham's personal cellphone number, Graham has since become one of Trump's biggest cheerleaders and fiercest defenders.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Graham has voted with Trump more than 87% of the time — a higher percentage than several GOP colleagues.
"Senator @LindseyGrahamSC is a good friend and strong voice for the people of South Carolina," Trump tweeted in June. "He’s helped us confirm GREAT Judges, rebuild the Military, and keep our Country SAFE. Strong on Life and our Vets. Lindsey has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"
This is not the first time Carlson has gone after the frequent Fox News guest on his show. Last October, he accused Graham of "total inaction" for failing to fully investigate the origins of the Russia probe. The title of that segment was "Lindsey Graham Keeps Making Empty Promises."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.