Sen. Lindsey Graham said it’s time for Republicans to rebuke presidential hopeful Donald Trump, urging his party to tell Trump to “go to hell.”
“You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell,” Graham said on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday, picking up on the GOP front-runner’s famous slogan, “make America great again.”
The South Carolina Republican was responding to Trump’s statement released Monday calling for the U.S. to ban all Muslims from entering the country.
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“He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,” Graham told Alisyn Camerota. “He doesn’t represent my party. He doesn’t represents the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for. … He’s the ISIL man of the year.”
Graham said Trump’s rhetoric benefits ISIS in helping them recruit people to their cause. He said having traveled to the Middle East 36 times as a lawmaker and in the Air Force reserve, he knows the troops and diplomats on the front lines are very concerned.
“What Mr. Trump is doing — and I don’t think he has a clue about anything. He’s just just trying to get his numbers up and get the biggest reaction he can,” Graham said. “He is helping the enemy of this nation. He is empowering radical Islam. And if he knew anything about the world at all, you would know that most Muslims reject this ideology.”
Graham said that what the U.S. needs to do is embrace the “99%” of Muslims who reject radical, violent extremism and have died “by the thousands” trying to fight it, and it needs to invest in the Middle East and giving people and women opportunity there.
“That’s how you win the war. A hopeful life versus a glorious death. And what Mr. Trump is doing is undercutting everything we stand for,” Graham said. “Going to a military high school, Donald, is not military service. You’ve never worn the uniform. … So knock it off. You’re putting people at risk.”
Trump has been leading the Republican primary in nearly every poll, recently hitting 36% in a CNN survey. Graham has been languishing at the bottom of the race, failing to hit even 1% in some polling.
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