At one point not too long ago in American history — as in, last year — it appeared as though increasing tensions with North Korea could escalate into a full-blown conflict.
Under Kim Jong Un's regime, the hermit kingdom was testing intercontinental ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate, while Donald Trump was attacking the dictator as "Rocket Man" in tweets and a major speech at the United Nations, in which he threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if further provoked.
According to journalist Bob Woodward’s new book Fear: Trump in the White House, Lindsey Graham offered a bizarre solution to the chaos during a national security meeting the president had assembled in 2017: urge the Chinese government to assassinate the North Korean leader, and instead install a military general who "they control".
The meeting was conducted in September 2017, according to Mr Woodward, who has penned a multitude of revealing books about US presidents since Richard Nixon.
Mr Trump was reportedly joined by Mr Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, along with National Security Adviser HR McMaster and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.
The conservative senator has repeatedly implored Mr Trump to take a more hawkish stance on global military issues, according to Mr Woodward’s book, including in Afghanistan.
"Do you want on your resume that you allowed Afghanistan to go back into the darkness and the second 9/11 came from the very place the first 9/11 did?" he allegedly asked the president.
According to Mr Woodward, the president responded: "Well, how does this end?"
"It never ends," Mr Woodward recounts the senator saying in the meeting. "It’s good versus evil. Good versus evil never ends.”
The White House and Mr Graham’s office did not immediately respond to enquiries, however, Mr Trump and his associates have railed on Mr Woodward's new book as a "work of pure fiction". Still, the senator has been known to push Mr Trump on military issues, including the North Korean crisis.
Mr Graham has previously confirmed he's spoken with Mr Trump about war in North Korea.
"There is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program and North Korea itself," he said in an August interview with the Today show last year. "If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to dive over here — and [Trump has] told me that to my face."
Tensions between the US and North Korea have somewhat cooled — for the time being, at least — after a historic summit Mr Trump shared with the regime’s dictator.
The White House has announced it’s in the process of setting up a second meeting between the two leaders after the North sent a "very warm" letter to the president requesting another one. However, talks between the two nations have since stalled, despite White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying the letter was "further evidence of progress".
John Bolton, Mr Trump’s National Security adviser, recently said the president was "still waiting for" North Korea to fully commit to a stable and peaceful relationship.
"President Trump can’t make North Korea walk through the door he’s holding open,” he said. "They’re the ones that have to take the steps to denuclearise, and that’s what we’re waiting for."
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