Lindsey Graham says he 'absolutely' still considers Biden a friend as he supports the president's decision to nominate a Black woman for the Supreme Court
Sen. Lindsey Graham said he "absolutely" still considered President Joe Biden a friend.
He's emerged as a prospective GOP ally to Biden as the president considers a Supreme Court nominee.
Graham, a prominent Trump supporter, said he hadn't spoken to Biden since the president took office.
Sen. Lindsey Graham told Politico in an interview published Wednesday that he "absolutely" still considered President Joe Biden a friend, despite the South Carolina Republican's criticism of the president and his support for former President Donald Trump.
Graham has emerged as a prospective Republican ally to Biden as the president considers a Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer.
Over the weekend, Graham heaped praise on a contender for the vacancy and backed Biden's decision to pick a Black woman for the position.
"I can't think of a better person for President Biden to consider for the Supreme Court than Michelle Childs," Graham told CBS on Sunday about J. Michelle Childs, a federal district judge in his home state.
"She has wide support in our state. She's considered to be a fair-minded, highly gifted jurist. She's one of the most decent people I've ever met," he added. "It would be good for the court to have somebody who's not at Harvard or Yale."
Unlike Graham, some Republicans have ripped into Biden's plans to choose a Black woman for a seat on the bench. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi said Biden's pick would be a "beneficiary" of affirmative action, while Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called Biden's decision "offensive."
"Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America," Graham told CBS. "You know, we make a real effort as Republicans to recruit women and people of color to make the party look more like America."
He added: "Michelle Childs is incredibly qualified. There's no affirmative-action component if you pick her."
Biden has said he will introduce his nominee by the end of the month. Senate Democratic leaders hope to move quickly to confirm his pick and can do so without any Republican support if all 50 Democrats are on board and Vice President Kamala Harris casts the tiebreaking vote.
Still, Graham's support could be an opportunity for a bipartisan confirmation of Biden's nominee. Last year, Graham was one of three Republicans to confirm another prospective Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, for a seat on the powerful US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Graham, a prominent Trump ally, told Politico he and Biden hadn't spoken since the president took office. Graham had heavily advocated for Trump during his term and launched attacks on Biden during the 2020 campaign.
Graham once spoke highly of Biden, and the two had strong ties. But the pair's relationship seemed unsalvageable after Graham pushed for an investigation into Biden's son Hunter and refused to recognize the 2020 election results. Biden at the time called Graham a "personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his."
The New York Times reported Graham called Biden shortly after the election in an attempt to mend their friendship. Graham told Biden that he went after his son to satisfy Trump supporters, the report said, but a spokesperson for the senator denied that account.
In fall, Graham suggested his friendship with Biden was all but over, saying the president was a "decent man" but that he "will never forgive him for" how he handled the Afghanistan withdrawal over the summer.
Graham's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. The White House also did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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