Sen. Lindsey Graham struck back Thursday at retired Gen. James Mattis for his criticism of President Donald Trump, saying that while the former defense secretary has the right to express himself, all the problems in the United States today weren't caused by the president.
"It is so fashionable to blame President Trump for every problem in America and he can be a handful and he can do better," the South Carolina Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "But the problems we have in America today weren't caused by Donald Trump and hopefully he can heal the nation."
Mattis slammed Trump in a statement to The Atlantic, saying that the president is the first in his lifetime who "does not try to unite the American people" and "tries to divide us," and as a result, "we are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort."
"The one thing I would tell Gen. Mattis that from the time President Trump wakes up to go to bed there's an effort to destroy his presidency," said Graham. "[Presidents] George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush used the military to support the police in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict, and the Insurrection Act has been used."
Also, nobody wants to send active duty troops into U.S. cities unless they are invited and absolutely necessary, said Graham, but he does believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo should have called the National Guard into New York City early on.
"I would ask Gen. Mattis to look at the behavior of the politicians in these cities and see if you can find fault with them," said Graham. "To Gen. Mattis, I think you're missing something here, my friend. You're missing the fact that the liberal media has taken every event in the last three and a half years and laid it at the presidency. I'm not saying he's blameless, but I am saying you're buying into a narrative that I think is quite frankly unfair."
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