Graham: Trump's Charlottesville rhetoric 'dividing Americans, not healing them'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill Trump wrestles with handling American enemy combatants Flake: Trump's call for DOJ to probe Democrats 'not normal' MORE (R-S.C.) warned President Trump on Wednesday that his remarks about the violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., is dividing the country.

"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.

Republicans have rebuked Trump after he said during a Tuesday press conference that both what he called "alt-left" and white nationalist groups were to blame for violence in Charlottesville, adding that there were "very fine people" on both sides.

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Graham said Trump's remarks were a "step backward" and that the president made a "moral equivalency" between white supremacists who attended the weekend rally and Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was killed after being hit by a car allegedly driven by a man with far-right views.

"I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency," Graham said said. "Many Republicans ... will fight back against the idea that the Party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world."

Duke — a white nationalist leader that ran for Senate in 2016 — thanked Trump on Tuesday for blaming the "alt-left," saying the president had "honesty & courage." 

Graham's statement came as Trump praised Heyer, whose memorial service is being held Wednesday morning in Charlottesville, in a tweet. 

“My thoughts and prayers will be with the family and friends of Ms. Heyer as they remember and honor her today," Graham added on Wednesday.