- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has thrown dynamite onto the feud between President Donald Trump and a group of Democratic congresswomen.
- Over the past week, House Democratic leadership has been openly feuding with four freshman congresswomen of color: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
- Trump poured fuel on the fire with a series of racist Sunday tweets suggesting that the congresswomen leave America and "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
- Appearing on "Fox & Friends" on Monday morning, Graham called the group "a bunch of communists" who he said "hate Israel" and "hate our own country," further calling them "anti-Semitic" and "anti-America."
- The South Carolina senator avoided criticizing the president and encouraged him to "aim higher," saying, "They are American citizens, they won an election, take on their policies."
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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has thrown dynamite onto the feud involving President Donald Trump, a group of progressive congresswomen, and the leadership of the Democratic Party, appearing on "Fox & Friends" on Monday morning and accusing the congresswomen of being "communists" and "anti-American."
Tensions between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the freshman congresswomen Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts reached a fever pitch last week, with Ocasio-Cortez accusing Pelosi of "singling out" women of color after Pelosi criticized the group in an interview with the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Trump poured fuel on the fire with a series of racist Sunday tweets that — without using names — suggested that the congresswomen leave America and "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Three of the four women were born in the United States, with Omar immigrating to America as a refugee from Somalia as a child.
No congressional Republicans spoke up to unequivocally condemn Trump's comments, with Graham, a Trump ally, on Monday encouraging Republicans to "talk about their policies" instead of where they come from or their personal lives.
"We all know AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists," Graham said, using a nickname for Ocasio-Cortez. "They hate Israel, they hate our own country. Calling guards along our border, calling 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."
Here's @LindseyGrahamSC on "Fox & Friends" this morning: "We all know AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel, they hate our own country...they're anti-Semitic, they're anti-American." pic.twitter.com/Q4CuMhnJ15
"I think they're American citizens duly-elected running on an agenda that is disgusting, that the American people will reject," Graham continued, mentioning support for government healthcare coverage for unauthorized immigrants and decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings.
Trump doubled down on his original tweets later Sunday and on Monday morning, accusing the congresswomen of hating Israel "with a true and unbridled passion" and charging that they "have made Israel feel abandoned" by the US, a refrain Graham repeated on the show.
"They're anti-Semitic, they talk about the Israeli state as if they're a bunch of thugs, not victims of the entire region," Graham said. "They wanted to impeach Trump on day one. They're socialists. They're anti-Semitic. They stand for all the things Americans disagree with."
Ocasio-Cortez has called the Border Patrol's treatment of migrant children "inhumane" and described detainment centers as concentration camps, and Omar has been accused of using an anti-Semitic trope by saying some Americans have an "allegiance" to Israel. None of the women have expressed hatred of fellow citizens or American values; they contend that standing up against injustice is an American value.
When the host Brian Kilmeade asked Graham whether he thought Trump "went too far" with his tweets, Graham still avoided criticizing the president and encouraged him to "aim higher," saying, "They are American citizens, they won an election, take on their policies."
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