Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said President Donald Trump is not a racist and to call him that is unfair, and "hitting below the belt."
"To ascribe racism to the president, which some people are trying to do, is not only hitting below the belt, it's vicious stuff. I know the man, and he doesn't have a racist bone in his body, and he's done a lot to try and help quell racism in this country," Hatch said in a KUTV interview in Salt Lake City.
Hatch said in the interview that he believed Trump could have handled the situation better. "He did make it clear that there was no excuse for this racism."
The senator revealed the advice he would have given Trump about what to say as a reaction to the violence.
"If I'd had my way, I would have advised him to just come out and condemn the actions and make it very clear . . . that he doesn't countenance what went on there, that these people were just awful. And then leave it at that," Hatch said.
"I think if he had done that, he wouldn't have some of the criticism that he's had," the senator added.
Many in the media aim to undermine the president, Hatch said.
"He has no friends in the mainstream media, I don't think, at all," the senator said in the KUTV interview.
On Saturday, Hatch rebuked the extremists in the Charlottesville, Virginia protests by referencing his brother, who died in World War II fighting the Nazi threat. Hatch sent a tweet saying, "We should call evil by its name."
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