Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday called President Trump’s decision to share unverified videos purporting to show violence committed by Muslims “inappropriate,” and “very unhelpful” in the war on terrorism.
“The one thing I’ve learned after 42 trips to the region is that the antidote to terrorism is not racism and religious bigotry. When you embrace religious bigotry, when you say that all Muslims are the same, then you’re undercutting our effort to win the war,” Graham said on CNN.
Trump on Wednesday retweeted videos posted by Jayda Fransen, a leader of the far-right Britain First. The group is considered a fringe entity in the U.K., and Fransen has been convicted of a hate crime.
The tweets set off a massive backlash against the president on both sides of the Atlantic.
U.S. civil rights leaders accused Trump of fanning anti-Muslim sentiment, and the British government condemned the tweets at the highest level.
The White House defended Trump's tweets, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders downplaying the issue of whether the videos were real or not.
"I'm not talking about the nature of the video,” she said Thursday. “I think you're focusing on the wrong thing. The threat is real and that is what the president is talking about."
Graham said Thursday that the United States’s Muslim allies “would have to be disappointed” that Trump chose to share the videos. He added that he understands the concerns of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who condemned Trump for sharing the videos, calling the decision "wrong."
“I think it was very inappropriate for the President of the United States to retweet these videos, because they just breed hatred and contempt,” Graham said.