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

Sen. Lindsey Graham (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.

{mosads}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.

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