The day after Donald Trump's racist tweets about four Democratic congresswomen, many Republican lawmakers have been pressed for a public reaction to their party's president. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) turned to Fox News, where he initially seemed to frame his response as helpful guidance.
"Aim higher," Graham said. "They are American citizens. They won an election. Take on their policies." The GOP senator added, "Don't get personal.... This is not about a person, it is about a country, it is about a set of ideas. They're on the wrong side of the future."
As a substantive matter, I'd disagree with him about who is and isn't on the right side of history, but as a matter of principle, Graham's recommendations to Trump initially seemed quite responsible. Aim higher, recognize the legitimacy of your opponents' positions, and resist the urge to make political fights personal.
Alas, that wasn't all the senator said.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called four minority congresswomen "communists" and "anti-America" as he responded to President Donald Trump's racist tweets about the group this weekend in an appearance on Fox & Friends on Monday."We all know that [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and this crowd are a bunch of communists," Graham said. "They hate Israel, they hate our own country, they're calling the guards along our border -- the 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."
Oh. So in the same interview, the Republican senator (1) urged Trump to aim higher and not make personal attacks; and (2) called Trump's targets anti-American communists.
The president, not surprisingly, was delighted with Graham's rhetoric.
Indeed, at a White House event today, the president said the senator's comments were, "frankly even stronger than what I'm saying."
I guess Trump meant that as a compliment.