Early Thursday morning, President Donald Trump was on Twitter and on the defensive, attacking fellow Republican and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had criticized Trump for his comments about Saturday’s deadly white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump also went after the media for what he said was “misrepresenting” his comments about “hate, bigotry, etc.”
Graham had, on Wednesday, criticized Trump’s reaction to the hate group gathering in Charlottesville that claimed the life of Heather Heyer, 32, who was peacefully protesting the event when a car rammed into a crowd on Saturday.
Trump’s initial reaction to the deadly rally failed to condemn, or even mention, the white supremacist hate groups that descended on Charlottesville on Saturday.
Instead, speaking from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, he said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
His comments were widely criticized for denying the reality of the situation and on Monday, Trump delivered another statement on Charlottesville, this time declaring that “racism is evil,” and calling out “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups.”
But on Tuesday he appeared to backtrack, defending his original statement that placed blame on “many sides.”
Speaking from Trump Tower on Tuesday, Trump said that the “alt-left” was partially to blame for Saturday’s violence and defended some of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “very fine people.”
It was this turn that Sen. Lindsay Graham criticized on Wednesday, telling CNN in a statement that “President 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 ... I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency.”
But in a series of early morning Tweets on Thursday, Trump lashed out at Graham for what he called “such a disgusting lie” and blamed the “Fake News” for “totally misrepresent[ing]” his comments.