President Donald Trump is digging in on widely rebuked remarks he’s made in response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.
“Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists and people like Ms. Heyer,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “Such a disgusting lie. He just can’t forget his election trouncing. The people of South Carolina will remember!”
Heather Heyer is the 32-year-old woman who was fatally struck Saturday by a driver identified by authorities as an Ohio man with Nazi views.
Graham, the South Carolina senator who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and has been critical of Trump, said in a statement Wednesday that Trump “took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white-supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer.” He continued: “I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency.”
Graham was responding to Trump’s statements at a press conference Tuesday, when the president said there was “blame on both sides” for the clashes in Charlottesville between the hate groups rallying against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and those protesting them. He also refused to categorically condemn those who traveled to Charlottesville for the protest.
“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” Trump said. “Nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it.”
The president also took a shot at the media in his tweets Thursday morning.
“The public is learning (even more so) how dishonest the Fake News is,” Trump tweeted. “They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!”