GOP senators rebuke Trump for using 'Wounded Knee' as 'punchline'

Two GOP senators from South Dakota on Monday said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE should avoid referencing the Wounded Knee massacre as part of his attacks targeting political opponents.

Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael Rounds'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks Trump officials vow to reform Fannie, Freddie if Congress doesn't act MORE (R-S.D.), in a string of tweets, said that Trump should go with him to visit tribal lands in South Dakota, where the 1890 massacre took place, adding that the country should "mend our history through reconciliation [and] mutual respect."

"The Wounded Knee Massacre was one of the darkest moments in our history. It should never be used as a punchline," Rounds said on Monday.

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Asked about Trump's comments, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneProspects for Trump gun deal grow dimmer Trump, lawmakers consider app that would conduct background checks: report 'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, separately told reporters that he wished Trump "wouldn’t do that."

"I wish he wouldn’t tweet as much, [as] I’ve said many times in the past. That’s obviously a very sensitive part of our state’s history. So yeah, I wish he’d stay away from it," Thune told reporters.

The public pushback comes after Trump mocked a video of Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations MORE (D-Mass.) over the weekend and renewed his use of his racially charged nickname for the potential 2020 contender: Pocahontas. 

Trump, in a reference to her claims of Native American heritage, said the video would have been a "smash" if she filmed it in "Bighorn or Wounded Knee." Hundreds of Sioux men, women and children were killed by U.S. Cavalry troops in the late 19th century during the Wounded Knee massacre, marking one of the deadliest attacks on Native Americans by the U.S. military.

"If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!" Trump tweeted.