Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday morning to hit back at South Carolina’s senior U.S. senator.
Trump criticized Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, for what the president called a “disgusting lie” about his comments about the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
“Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists ... and people like Ms. (Heather) Heyer,” Trump wrote, referring to the woman killed when a man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
“Such a disgusting lie,” Trump said. “He just can't forget his election trouncing.The people of South Carolina will remember!”
Graham responded to the president Thursday by pleading with Trump for more forceful leadership on the issue.
“(B)ecause 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,” Graham said. “For the sake of our Nation – as our President – please fix this.”
Graham also praised Trump for tweeting his condolences to the woman killed in the violence.
“Your tweet honoring Miss Heyer was very nice and appropriate. Well done,” Graham said.
On Wednesday, Graham put out a strongly worded statement on Trump’s handling of the events in Charlottesville. The Republican president’s statements have been widely criticized as equivocating between white nationalists, including Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis, on the one hand and those protesting against them on the other.
Trump seemed to walk back his earlier statement Tuesday, which cast blame on “both sides” for the violence.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right?” Trump said Tuesday. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”
“Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them,” Graham responded. “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.
“I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency,” the senator said.
Graham reiterated those words on Thursday.
“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 said.
“History is watching us all.”
South Carolina’s other senator, Tim Scott, also seemed to criticize Trump without mentioning his name in a Tuesday tweetstorm.