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us news Sen. Graham to : 'Your words are dividing Americans'

In a statement given to CNN's Kate Bolduan, the South Carolina Republican had harsh words for the President.

"Mr. President, I encourage you to try to bring us together as a nation after this horrific event in Charlottesville. Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them," said Graham, a frequent critic of who also ran against him for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

"Through his statements yesterday, President took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer," Graham said in the statement, referencing Heather Heyer, who died from injuries sustained at the rally in the Virginia city Saturday. "I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency."

on Tuesday blamed the violence on both sides of the conflict -- equating white supremacists with those who were there to protest them.

"Many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the Party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world," Graham said.

Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, was pleased with the President's words and took to Twitter following 's comments Tuesday to thank him for his "honesty and courage."
Here are the Republicans denouncing Trump by name

Here are the Republicans denouncing Trump by name

"Thank you President for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa," said the full tweet from an account that is not verified by Twitter but appears to represent Duke and features videos apparently posted by and of him.

Graham adds his voice to a slew of Republican members of Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who have taken to Twitter to condemn and distance themselves from 's

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