Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday joined President Trump in bashing former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis after he issued a scathing statement criticizing the President’s “abuse of executive authority” to clear the way for his surprise photo-op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church earlier this week.
In his statement published in The Atlantic on Wednesday evening, Mattis decried Trump for being “the first President in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try.”
Graham fired back at Mattis during an interview on “Fox and Friends” the following morning.
After saying that Mattis has the “right to express himself above all others in many ways,” given his long military career, Graham defended the President who he has known to be staunch ally of.
“The one thing I would tell General Mattis is that you don’t quite understand that from the time President Trump wakes up to when he goes to bed, there’s an effort to destroy his presidency,” Graham said, before mentioning how former President George H.W. Bush deployed the military during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles to support the police and arguing that the Insurrection Act has been “sparingly used.”
“Nobody wants to send active duty troops into American cities unless they are invited and unless they are absolutely necessary,” Graham said.
Graham then passed the blame to New York Gov. Cuomo, who he said should have “called out the National Guard early on,” to bolster his criticism against Mattis.
“I would ask General Mattis to look at the behavior of the politicians in these cities and see if you can find fault with them,” Graham said. “It is so fashionable to blame President Trump for every wrong in America — and he can be a handful and can he do better: yes — but the problems we have in America today weren’t caused by Donald Trump. And hopefully, he can help the nation heal some of these problems.”
Watch Graham’s remarks below:
Graham on Mattis' op-ed: "It is so fashionable to blame President Trump for every wrong in America." pic.twitter.com/IDTEyoaCHL
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) June 4, 2020