Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles Graham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet MORE (R-S.C.) reportedly once suggested that President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE encourage the Chinese government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and replace him with a general that China could control.
Graham reportedly made the recommendation during a meeting in the White House with Trump's national security team in September 2017, according to an excerpt from veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” as first reported by the Daily Beast.
The news outlet said that, according to Woodward, the meeting on North Korea included Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisFormer Defense Secretary Mattis testifies in Theranos CEO trial 20 years after 9/11, we've logged successes but the fight continues Defense & National Security — The mental scars of Afghanistan MORE and then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster and occurred shortly after Trump called Kim "little rocket man" last fall.
Trump never acted on the alleged recommendation from Graham.
A spokesman for Graham, Kevin Bishop, declined to comment on the book excerpt to The Hill. But Bishop acknowledged to the Daily Beast that Graham has tried to persuade Trump to take a more hawkish approach to foreign policy.
The Daily Beast noted that this wasn’t the only conversation between Graham and Trump about North Korea included in Woodward’s book.
In a different private conversation late last year, Trump reportedly told Graham he was open to starting a war with Pyongyang.
“There is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program and North Korea itself … If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die over here—and [Trump has] told me that to my face,” Graham said, according to the book.
But Woodward reported that Trump’s military advisers pushed back against the idea and that Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told Graham in February that intelligence on North Korea was too suspect to strike.
Graham “sensed that Dunford was stalling Trump’s request given the risk,” according to Woodward’s book.
The anecdotes about Graham are one of many revelations about the Trump administration included in Woodward’s new book, which was released on Tuesday. The book paints a portrait of a White House increasingly at odds with the president’s decisions.
The White House and Trump and have pushed back hard against the book's credibility, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying the book is full of fabricated stories.
The claim about Graham comes just a day after the White House said that planning is underway for a second summit between Trump and Kim. The leaders met over the summer in Singapore, resulting in a promise from Kim that North Korea would denuclearize in exchange for sanctions relief from the U.S.
-Updated 3:10 p.m.