Just 24 hours after President Donald Trump began his racist tirade against progressive Democratic congresswomen, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tossed fuel on the flames, calling the lawmakers “anti-America” communists.
The president’s attack started with a spate of tweets Sunday that was widely understood to take aim at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump wrote, ignoring the fact that each of those lawmakers is a U.S. citizen and that all are U.S.-born except for Omar, who emigrated as a child from Somalia.
Aside from telling Trump to “knock it down a notch,” Graham largely reinforced the president’s bigotry during a “Fox & Friends” appearance on Monday.
“We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists,” he falsely claimed. “They hate Israel, they hate our own country, they’re calling the guards along our border ― Border Patrol agents ― concentration camp guards, they accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the benjamins, they’re anti-Semitic, they’re anti-America.”
Graham then told the president to “aim higher.”
“We don’t need to know anything about them personally. Talk about their policies,” he said, adding that “they’re American citizens who were duly elected, that are running on an agenda that is disgusting, that the American people will reject.”
Though most GOP lawmakers have stayed silent on Trump’s remarks, the comments were met with condemnation from each of the Democrats apparently targeted, as well as from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called the president xenophobic.
Trump defended his own remarks on Monday, both on Twitter and during a White House event where he said, “If you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave.”
“These are people who hate our country,” he said. “They hate it, I think with a passion. Now, it’s possible I’m wrong. The voters will decide.”