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Lindsey Graham told Trump he was leaving office more 'powerful' than any US president to stoke his ego after the election, book says

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Graham, Trump
President Donald Trump speaks to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during an event about judicial confirmations in the East Room of the White House on November 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Lindsey Graham tried to stoke Trump's ego to calm him down after he lost the 2020 election. 

  • Trump was trying to overturn the results, and Graham didn't think it would work out for him.

  • Graham told Trump he'd leave office more "powerful" than any president in history.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

In December, President Donald Trump was actively vying to overturn the 2020 election results and looking to Republicans in Congress to help him. But Sen. Lindsey Graham doubted that his fellow Republicans in the Senate would go against the Electoral College vote, so he employed flattery in an effort to calm Trump down and steer him away from this route, according to Robert Costa and Bob Woodward's new book, "Peril."

Graham, a close ally of Trump's, called him in mid-December and "stoked" the president's ego, per the book. 

"Nobody in American history is going to leave office as powerful as you are," Graham said, according to Woodward and Costa. "You're a shadow president. Mr. President, you're sitting on top of a money-making machine. You've raised hundreds of millions in the last five or six weeks. You've locked down the Republican nomination if you want it."

Trump ultimately did not give up on his effort to overturn the election results, ignoring top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who in the final days of his presidency bluntly told him that he lost. He continued to push the false notion that the 2020 election was stolen from him. His lies about the election provoked a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, which resulted in Trump's second impeachment. 

The former president has still not acknowledged that he was fairly defeated by President Joe Biden, and continues to push baseless claims about the election. As recently as this week, Trump falsely stated that the election was "rigged." 

Supporters of Trump continue to feed off of his election lies, and have planned a rally in Washington, DC, on Saturday to support the hundreds of insurrectionists who face criminal charges as a result of January 6. 

"Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election," Trump said in a statement on Thursday.

 

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