South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Thursday that he didn't want people in the United States to be "hyphenated Americans" but added that the country's diversity should be celebrated.
Graham made the comments when asked by a radio host on New Hampshire Now what he thought Jeb Bush meant when he said that America should not be a multicultural society.
"We should not have a multicultural society," Bush said in Iowa on Tuesday.
"America is so much better than every other country because of the values that people share -- it defines our national identity. Not race or ethnicity, not where you come from. When you create pockets of isolation -- and in some cases the assimilation process is retarded because it's slowed down -- it's wrong. It limits people's' aspirations."
Graham answered that he didn't know what "Jeb was driving at" but said that "celebrating our diversity is a good thing."
"I want us to be all, out of many, one, but we have Cinco (de) Mayo, we have, you know, we have St. Patrick's Day. I mean, I don't know what Jeb was driving at, I don't want us to be hyphenated Americans, we're all in it together, but celebrating our diversity is a good thing. I mean like, you know, you have St. Patrick's Day. You have holidays that celebrate the immigrant heritage of our country. What makes us a cool place is that we have so many different people with different backgrounds," Graham said.
"The goal is to become one America, but you don't have to detach yourself from your heritage. It's okay to be Irish, it's a fun thing to go. You know, I'm a Scottish guy, I like going to St. Patrick's day. Here in Manchester, it's like the UN. Manchester, New Hampshire, is like Epcot Center. When you walk down the street of Manchester, you've got every food known to man. So there's a Syrian guy right by an Afghan guy, it just blew me away," Graham said.
Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Megan Apper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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