July 12, 2015 11:24 AM EDT

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday denounced fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as “a wrecking ball for the future of the Republican Party.”

“I think he’s created a defining moment for all candidates,” Graham, speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, said of Trump’s incendiary comments about Mexican immigrants. Graham, widely seen as a long-shot for the GOP nomination despite his experience in the Senate as a leading foreign policy voice, called Trump a “demagogue.”

“I think he’s uninformed,” Graham said. “I think he’s a wrecking ball for the future of the Republican Party in the Hispanic community, and I think we need to push back.”

Trump’s comments during his presidential campaign announcement speech that Mexican immigrants are “rapists” has led to a chorus of criticism from Hispanic leaders and from many business partners who have cut ties with the real estate mogul in recent weeks. He has stood by his remarks, and on Saturday he said he spoke for a new “silent majority” of Americans.


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Write to Tanya Basu at tanya.basu@time.com.

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