Lindsey Graham: Trump understands "we're fighting a religious war"

Graham has been harshly critical of Trump in the past, but seems to share the president's views on the Muslim world

By Matthew Rozsa
Published November 1, 2017 5:07PM (UTC)
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(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump may have a long and contentious history with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., but that doesn't mean Graham won't carry Trump's water when it comes to their common prejudices about the Muslim world.

"The one thing I like about President Trump is that he understands we are fighting a religious war," Graham told Fox News on Tuesday night. "We are fighting people who are compelled by their religious views to kill us all. They kill fellow Muslims who don’t agree with their view of Islam, they kill Christians and vegetarians, libertarians, you name it. We are in a war."

Unlike Graham, many of the political leaders representing the actual people of New York City have pointed out that the suspect, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, seemed to have acted alone.

"All the evidence we have suggests that he was acting alone," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told CNN's Anderson Cooper during an interview on Tuesday. "The so-called 'Lone Wolf syndrome.' You have to remember a couple of years ago they [ISIS] telegraphed this, that they were going to individual acts, they said 'use a knife, use a car, use a truck, use whatever you can get.' That's what this was."

It is notable that Cuomo referred to the suspect Saipov as a "lone wolf," a term that has been heavily criticized due to the perception that it is more commonly used to refer to white terrorists. While most of the media has simply labeled the suspect Saipov as a "terrorist," Cuomo used a term that acknowledged the suspect Saipov's alleged connection to Islamist extremism while identifying that he seemed to have worked alone by using the "lone wolf" term.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio avoided making statements that broadly blamed Muslims or the Islamic faith for the terrorist attack, but instead simply denounced it as "cowardly."

"Based on information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians," de Blasio told reporters at a news conference.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Andrew Cuomo Bill De Blasio Donald Trump Lindsey Graham New York Terrorist Attack