Tags: Charlottesville | trump | reaction | republicans | criticize | democrats

Republicans, Dems Slam Trump for Reaction to Va. Violence

By    |   Sunday, 13 August 2017 11:31 AM

Donald Trump is facing waves of criticism from Democrats and many Republicans after he failed to forcefully denounce white nationalists and neo-Nazis who held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned deadly on Saturday.

Clashes between groups protesting the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and those opposed to the rally, left more than a dozen people injured. Television images showed police in riot gear among the crowd, and some of the protesters chanted anti-Semitic slogans. Three people later died, including two state troopers killed in a helicopter crash after responding to the scene. The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a civil-rights probe into the incident.

In his initial response via Twitter, Trump said, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!” He later added that the situation in Charlottesville was “sad!" Trump also called for “a swift restoration of law and order.”

But later, during an appearance in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump described Saturday’s rally as an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence -- on many sides,” which made it appear the president was placing equal blame on the white nationalists and neo-Nazi groups that organized the event, and those protesting them.

“Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism,” responded Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, a fellow Republican, on Twitter. Senator John McCain of Arizona said Saturday’s events marked “a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons.”

There were among several slaps against the president lodged by those in Trump’s own party, including Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who noted that “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

In the face of the critical outpouring, the White House sought to clarify what Trump meant. One official said Saturday that the president was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides, and that there’d been violence between protesters and counter protesters in Charlottesville.

The president’s daughter Ivanka, a White House adviser, on Sunday tweeted: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis. We must all come together as Americans -- and be one country UNITED.”

A second White House statement, issued on Sunday, said that Trump’s condemnation “of course includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Singling Out

But that did little to deflect complaints that Trump needed to lean on family members and unnamed White House officials to single out the far right. “Donald Trump mocked Barack Obama for not calling Islamic Terrorism by its name. Now HE must call White Supremacy Terrorism by its name,” tweeted Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host and former Republican congressman from Florida.

On Sunday, Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, described the car crash as domestic terrorism. “We cannot tolerate this kind of bigotry, this kind of hatred,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Singer also called it terrorism on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and laid blame on Trump for “intentional courting” of right-wing extremist groups and then failing to “put to bed all those different efforts.”

The Charlottesville police chief said a driver was in custody after a 32-year-old woman died and 19 sustained injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening when a car hit counter-protesters in downtown Charlottesville.

Murder Charge

The city government identified the driver of the car that hit the pedestrians as James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio resident, and said he’s been charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one of a hit-and-run.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency on Saturday after violent run-ins between thousands of the demonstrators, counter-protesters and supporters of the activist group Black Lives Matter.

At a press conference, McAuliffe addressed “the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today -- our message is plain and simple: go home. You are not wanted in this great Commonwealth. Shame on you.”

By contrast, in brief comments in New Jersey and in a Twitter message earlier Saturday, Trump avoided direct references to the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates and other right-wing activists who congregated in the city and on the campus of UVA, which was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson.

‘Come Together’

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group based in Montgomery, Alabama, sent a blast fund-raising email calling Trump’s comments about unity “hollow.”

One of the best-known white supremacists in the U.S, former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana lawmaker David Duke, tweeted at Trump: “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”

Lawmakers piled on.

“Make no mistake –- these insidious psychologies have been given license to be brought out in the open air by a president that openly seized upon these hatreds during his campaign, and continues to traffic in divisive rhetoric and hateful policies in the White House,” Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said in a statement.

The Congressional Black Caucus tweeted that Trump’s “false equivalency, dog whistles are sad. White supremacy is to blame.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, among the losers to Trump for the Republican nomination for president, tweeted that it was “Very important for the nation to hear Potus describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists.”

And Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, a Republican, said on Twitter that “White supremacists, Neo-Nazis and anti-Semites are the antithesis of our American values. There are no other ‘sides’ to hatred and bigotry.”

First lady Melania Trump, in a rare foray into a contentious issue, tweeted earlier: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence.”

More than an hour before Trump’s first tweet, House Speaker Paul Ryan had offered a comment, saying on Twitter, “The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”

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President Donald Trump blamed "many sides" for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the wake of a white nationalist demonstration, drawing swift reactions.Democrats and some Republicans called on him to specifically denounce white supremacy and racially motivated hate...
trump, reaction, republicans, criticize, democrats
Sunday, 13 August 2017 11:31 AM
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