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Lindsey Graham: Trump is a GOP "wrecking ball"

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during the Atlantic Council’s series “America’s Role in the World” at the Atlantic Council's offices in Washington, Wednesday, July 8, 2015.

Andrew Harnik, AP

Republican presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham wants the GOP to "push back" against Donald Trump's comments on Mexican immigrants -- otherwise, he says, there's little hope in winning the White House come 2016.

"I think he's hijacked the debate," Graham said Sunday in an interview with CNN. "I think he's a wrecking ball for the future of the Republican Party with the Hispanic community. And we need to push back."

"At the end of the day, for us to win a national election, we have to do better with Hispanics," Graham added. "And for us to have the moral authority as a party to govern a great nation, we have to reject this demagoguery. If we don't, we will lose, and we will deserve to lose."

For his part, Trump, who recently doubled down on remarks he made regarding the "rapists" and criminals among Mexican immigrants, hasn't held back his disdain for leaders in his own party.

"We have incompetent politicians -- not only the president," Trump told a crowded convention center in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday. "I mean, right here in your own state you have John McCain. I just hate to see when people don't have common sense, don't have an understanding of what's going on. ... Some people don't get it and I don't think they'll be in office much longer."

The business mogul has also attacked GOP establishment favorite, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, saying he didn't see him as a "factor" in the upcoming national elections.

Trump has refused to soften his rhetoric, despite the criticism of party elders. Even Republican National Committee Chair Reince Preibus reportedly called Trump to request that he tone down his inflammatory comments.

Graham added that Preibus, who had conducted a "postmortem" on the 2012 election, told the party that "we have hurt ourselves with Hispanics." But, the South Carolina senator said, "it's not only incumbent upon the chairman, but anyone in a responsible position with the Republican party."

Democratic presidential contender and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb also attacked Trump on Sunday, saying that he shouldn't "be throwing these bombs to our cultural groups."

"This kind of divisive, inflammatory rhetoric by people who want to be commander in chief is not helpful," Webb said in an interview with Fox News Sunday. "We need to be inclusive, recognize that we have problems, that we can come together to solve them."

Trump's comments may, in fact, be one of the few things candidates for the Republican and Democratic nominations agree on.

"If we can't get this right," Graham told CNN, "then we're going to keep digging a hole, and it's going to cost us the 2016 election, at a time when we could win."