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“Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his,” Biden said. "But look, I think I can work with Republican leadership in the House and the Senate and get things done”

By Sean Neumann
December 21, 2020 04:12 PM
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Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham
Joe Biden (left) and Lindsey Graham
| Credit: Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock

President-elect Joe Biden says Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had been a longtime friend, was “a personal disappointment” to him while Graham has joined President Donald Trump in stoking baseless fears about the 2020 election results and criticizing Biden's family.

Biden’s comment came Thursday during an interview with The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, who noted the president-elect’s well-documented bond with his Republican Senate colleague and asked if they could make amends.

“Lindsey Graham — a friend of yours — he has said things about you nicer than any of them said about me,” Colbert, 56, told Biden, referring to Graham's past praise. “I wish somebody would say the things about me that Lindsey Graham said about you."

"Do you think you guys can patch it up and work together?” Colbert then asked.

Biden, 78, pivoted to a larger issue.

“Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his,” he said, pausing for a moment. "But look I think I can work with Republican leadership in the House and the Senate and get things done.”

Before his eight-year tenure as vice president, Biden spent more than three decades in the Senate where he forged friendships across the aisle with GOP colleagues like Graham and the late Sen. John McCain.

Biden and Graham, the 65-year-old senior senator from South Carolina, were close for years.

The two traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, shortly after the 2008 election in what Graham described then as a push to project unity to the world, according to The Washington Post.

And, in an interview in 2015, Graham gushed that Biden was “the nicest person I think I’ve ever met in politics. He is as good a man as God ever created.”

“If you can’t admire Joe Biden as a person, then you’ve got a problem,” Graham told HuffPost then. “You need to do some self-evaluation, because what’s not to like?”

But Graham has spoken less fondly in recent years about the Bidens as his tone about President Trump (whom he had called "offensive" and a "jackass") has evolved as well.

Graham remains one of Trump's staunchest congressional allies, backing Trump's evidence-free suspicions about the election and saying last week he wanted a special counsel to investigate Biden's son Hunter, a favored Trump target.

Last year, Biden told CNN that Graham's behavior would be something Graham would “regret his whole life.”

“Lindsey, I just — I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing, for you,” Biden said, when asked what he’d say to Graham then. “I mean, my Lord.”

Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham
Joe Biden (left) and Lindsey Graham in 2014
| Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham
Joe Biden (left) and Lindsey Graham in 2008
| Credit: Alex Wong/Getty

After the Electoral College voted last week and confirmed Biden's election victory over Trump, not long after the Supreme Court declined to hear a GOP-backed challenge to the results, Graham equivocated while Trump continues to insist he didn't lose.

"It’s a very, very narrow path for the president. I don’t see how it gets there from here, given what the Supreme Court did," Graham told reporters. "But having said that, I think we’ll let those legal challenges play out."

Graham reportedly did say, however, that he had talked privately with Biden and had a "very pleasant" discussion.

In February, Dr. Jill Biden was asked on CNN whether the Bidens still consider Graham a friend.

“We did," she said.

“Well, you know, Lindsey — I don’t know what happened to Lindsey. And we used to be great friends and friends with John McCain,” Dr. Biden added. “I mean we traveled together with the [Senate] Foreign Relations Committee. We’ve had dinner. You know, and now he’s changed.”

“It’s hard when you consider somebody a friend and they’ve said so many things — so many negative things,” the incoming first lady said then, “and that’s been a little hurtful.”