Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., went to bat for President Donald Trump on Wednesday amid his bitter battle with four congresswomen of color, arguing the attacks were not the result of racism — but simple narcissism.
Capitol Hill reporters Frank Thorp of NBC News and Jason Donner of Fox News tweeted Graham's take on Trump's rhetoric.
"I really do believe that if you're a Somali refugee who likes Trump, he's not going to say 'go back to Somalia,'" Graham said, apparently referencing Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., the pair reported.
"A racist says go back to Somalia because you're a Somalian or you're a Muslim or whatever, that's just the way he is. More narcissism than anything else."
Graham later added he was "making a joke," adding he didn't "like the idea" of telling anyone to "go back" to the place they are from, according to Thorp.
"I think you can make the case that he's a narcissist more than you can make he's a racist," Sen. Graham said. "I mean, I don't like the idea of telling somebody who's an American citizen to go home; this is their home."
According to Thorp, when pressed on whether the president's remarks might be "dangerous," Graham replied: "When a member of Congress says we're going to impeach the motherf–er on day one, what kind of response do you expect? So, this is just, it's a two-way street here."
"When you accuse the guy of running concentration camps you probably aren't going to get a high-minded response," he added. "My point is I really do believe if you support him it's different than if you don't. It's not about being from Somalia, it's about whether you support him or not."
Graham's defense comes after Trump told four freshman House Democrats to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came" before criticizing the U.S. government.
The comments were aimed at Rep. Omar, and fellow Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D- N.Y., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. Omar, who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia, is the only one among the four who was born in a foreign country.
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