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

Two GOP senators from South Dakota on Monday said that President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE should avoid referencing the Wounded Knee massacre as part of his attacks targeting political opponents.

Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsBipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor Schumer sets up key vote on bipartisan deal Graham: Bipartisan infrastructure pay-fors are insufficient 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 ThuneFrustration builds as infrastructure talks drag On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal 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 WarrenPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia Warren-backed amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to defense bill 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.