WASHINGTON — Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday swung back at retired Gen. James Mattis over his recent criticisms of President Donald Trump’s handling of race riots in the United States.
Mattis, in a written critique of Trump published in The Atlantic, slammed Trump, claiming America’s Commander-in-Chief is fanning the flames of racial hatred.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
“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 responded during an interview with Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.”
“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.”
“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,” Graham continued. “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.”
Mattis, a Marine general who once served as Secretary of Defense for the Trump administration, resigned in December 2018 to protest President Trump’s handling of the conflict in Syria.