President Donald Trump failed to "strike the right note" and fueled the "resistance" and "intolerance" by the left in his statement denouncing the Charlottesville, Va., violence this weekend, former adviser to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove said Sunday, calling it a "missed opportunity."
"Well, I don't say slammed, but frankly a little disappointed," Rove told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" with Maria Bartiromo. "It was a missed opportunity.
"I thought his opening statement was pretty darn good up to a point."
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President Trump's statement opened with "we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this an egregious display of racism, bigotry, and violence."
"I thought that was a great beginning," Rove told Bartiromo. "But then he veered off, and clearly he was not reading off of his script. He said 'on many sides.'"
The improvisation got Trump into trouble, Rove said.
"Sort of like defensive and 'it's not my fault, this isn't me, this isn't Barack Obama,'" Rove added. "I thought the Attorney General of the United States hit a much better tone when he announced his federal investigation of this."
U.S. AG Jeff Sessions, maligned in tweets by President Trump this summer, said succinctly: "This violence is totally contrary to American values and can never be tolerated."
"I thought that was a strong statement," Rove said. "I don't know why the president missed this opportunity. We need in moments like this the president to express our values, express our angst, to comfort us, and instead we got 'it's not my fault on many, many sides.'
". . . The president should have, in my opinion, condemned them in the kind of terms his Attorney General did."
Instead, Rove said, Trump fueled the Democratic "resistance" and "intolerance of the president" by improvised political statements in a time needing national unity.
"The resistance of the Democratic Party . . . the intolerance of the president by the Democratic Party is evident each and every day," Rove said. "They can't find any moment in which they can join with him. Instead, they condemn him as an illegitimate figure. They condemn every thing he does. I get that.
"So, I am going to ignore Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. I just want my president of all of Americans to strike the right note in a moment like this.
"And I don't know why he veered off and went off with the 'on many sides, on many sides.' He didn't need to get into that. He didn't need to say this has been going on for a long time. We know that. He didn't need to say 'it's not my fault, not Donald Trump and not Barack Obama.' It just was a missed opportunity."
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