- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said white supremacists “believe they have a friend in Donald Trump,” and he urged the president to immediately condemn the hate groups that gathered Saturday at a Charlottesville rally that left one person dead and others injured.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Graham said he’s not entirely sure why white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other groups believe Mr. Trump is sympathetic to their cause, but he said the onus is now on the president to correct the record and condemn those groups in no uncertain terms.

“They are enemies of freedom,” the South Carolina Republican said of the groups, adding that the president “missed an opportunity” in his comments Saturday to disavow any relationship with racist organizations.

“These groups seem to believe they have a friend in Donald Trump in the White House … I would urge the president to dissuade these groups that he’s their friend,” Mr. Graham said. “I think the president can be very clear when he wants to be, and he needs to be clear here.”

The senator also called for a federal task force to look at the “size and scope” of the white nationalist groups that gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

If Mr. Trump fails to explicitly condemn white supremacists, it’s fair to ask why he won’t do so, Sen. Cory Gardner, Colorado Republican, said Sunday.

“If he doesn’t do that, we can continue to answer the question of why,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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