The new high-profile book about President Donald Trump by famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward reveals the vast extent to which U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has influenced Trump in the first year and a half of the administration.
Released Tuesday, "Fear: Trump in the White House" contains scant revelations about most South Carolinians in or close to the Trump administration. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., received just a single inconsequential mention each.
The only interesting revelation about Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman, was that he sought to edge Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin out of congressional negotiations on tax reform, warning former economic adviser Gary Cohn that Mnuchin was hurting their prospects.
But Graham plays a starring role, regularly advising Trump while seeking to push the president towards his hawkish view of foreign policy and his more open view on immigration. Steve Bannon, the combative nationalist former adviser to Trump, is even said to have felt at one point like the South Carolina Republican had "moved into the West Wing."
Here are five top Graham moments in Woodward's book:
Graham proposed encouraging China to assassinate Kim Jong-Un
Last September, Woodward reports that Graham suggested that Trump should encourage China to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and replace them with a general whom "they control."
The risky proposal, evidently, did not come to fruition. But it demonstrates Graham's aggressive approach to the thorniest conflicts Trump was handling around the world.
Trump offered to make Graham the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan
After Graham returned from a visit to Afghanistan, he expressed concerns about the lack of any diplomatic efforts in the South Asia region, with the lack of State Department staffers there threatening to exacerbate tensions with the Taliban and Pakistan.
As a solution, Trump asked Graham whether he would want to be ambassador to Pakistan. Graham rejected the offer out of hand.
Graham rejected Trump's request for 100 percent loyalty
During one of Graham and Trump's many golf outings, this one in December, Trump pressed Graham on why he did not offer unequivocal support of him.
Comparing the complaint to Trump's famous request for loyalty from former FBI director James Comey, Trump asked Graham to be a "100 percent guy" instead of "like 82 percent."
“Why would you want me to tell you, 'You’re right,' when I think you’re wrong? What good does that do for you or me?” Graham responded. “Presidents need people that can tell them the truth as they see it. It’s up to you to see if I’m full of (expletive).”
Graham worked to repair Trump-McCain relationship
Torn between his longtime friendship with the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his efforts to influence Trump, Graham worked to repair the relationship between them by arranging a dinner with Trump, McCain and McCain's wife Cindy.
Graham said his "chief job is to keep John McCain happy," to keep the senator from bucking his party's leadership," Graham said.
During the dinner, Trump effusively praised McCain — who he had once mocked for being captured during the Vietnam War — and offered to make Cindy McCain an ambassador focused on the issue of human trafficking.
Kushner organized Graham-Durbin compromise effort on immigration
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, brought together the bipartisan immigration tag team of Graham and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in his office as they sought a solution to the Obama-era program that allowed children brought into the country illegally to stay, known as Deferred Action for Child Arrivals.
Those negotiations led to an infamous Oval Office confrontation, pitting immigration hardliners against Graham and Durbin, in which Trump called some countries "shitholes."
After that meeting, Trump called Graham and disputed the reports about the meeting, but Graham insisted they were correct.
"I like playing golf with you," Graham said. "But if that’s the price of admission, count me out."