U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said President Donald Trump "missed the boat" in not denouncing hate groups that descended on Charlottesville, Va., resulting in a violent protest of the planned removal of a Confederate monument.
"There is a small group of people in this country and everywhere in the world that are just bad,” Graham, R-Seneca, said at a South Carolina Chamber of Commerce roundtable with the state’s congressional leaders Wednesday. “Nazis are bad. The KKK are bad. There are some people on the left that are kind of outrageous,” Graham said.
“From a Republican point of view, we've got to let everybody in this country know of color, we see these people the same way as you do, and the president missed the boat there.”
Graham said he does not think Trump is a racist, but said the president has said things that make "a lot of people that are racist believe he is their guy."
Trump and the GOP's challenge is to make it clear they reject the hate groups, Graham said.
"How can you prove to the Klan and the Nazis that your form of conservatism rejects htem completely without equivocation?" Graham said. "President Trump needs to bring us together."