Sen. Lindsay Graham shot back at President Donald Trump on Thursday morning, continuing a spat between the two over Trump’s controversial response to the weekend’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
The South Carolina Republican, who is one of the GOP’s most outspoken Trump critics, sharply criticised Trump’s denouncement of “many sides” of the protests in Virginia. The senator accused the president on Wednesday of drawing a “moral equivalency” between the white supremacists ralliers and the anti-racist counterprotesters.
“Mr. President, I encourage you to try to bring us together as a nation after this horrific event in Charlottesville. Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them,” Graham said in a statement.
“Through his statements yesterday, President Trump took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer,” the statement continued. “I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency.”
Graham was responding to accusations Trump had made earlier on Twitter.
“Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists and people like Ms. Heyer,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “Such a disgusting lie. He just can’t forget his election trouncing. The people of South Carolina will remember!”
In addition to releasing the statement, Graham also responded in a series of tweets. He first praised Trump’s response to the death of a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car driven by a white supremacist rallier barreled through a crowd of protesters, but called on Trump to reject the support of the white supremacists who have celebrated his presidency.
“Mr. President, like most I seek to move our nation, my state, and our party forward – toward the light – not back to the darkness,” Graham tweeted.
“Your tweet honouring Miss Heyer was very nice and appropriate. Well done,” Graham continued. “However, because of the manner in which you have handled the Charlottesville tragedy you are now receiving praise from some of the most racist and hate-filled individuals and groups in our country. For the sake of our Nation — as our President — please fix this. History is watching us all.”
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