Tags: Charlottesville | Donald Trump | terry mcauliffe | charlottesville | divisive | comments | donald trump

McAuliffe: Trump Should Keep Divisive Statements Out of Charlottesville

By    |   Thursday, 17 August 2017 09:14 AM

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Thursday he does not want President Donald Trump to visit Charlottesville if he plans to make the kinds of statements about the violence in the community that he's made in the past few days.

"If the president wants to come to Charlottesville and address our citizens on how we can move forward as a nation, that's what the president of the United States should do," the Democratic governor told "CBS This Morning." "I do not want him to come here to give the speeches he's given the last couple of days. Those speeches are dividing us."

McAuliffe said he spoke with Trump just before he gave his first press conference about the Charlottesville protests.

"When I talked to him, he called me right before he gave his press conferences, and I told him, 'Mr. President, it's hatred, it's bigotry, it's racism, and it needs to stop in this country. Let us work together for reconciliation, let us go forward to bring our nation back together again,'" McAuliffe said. "He agreed with me on the phone call, but I don't understand the statements he made."

Those statements, he continued, did not show leadership.

"Those remarks are dividing people," the governor said. "We cannot be dividing people. People came and protested the other day here in Charlottesville. One group came. You saw the individuals walking around with semiautomatic rifles through the streets. We knew these folks were coming armed and they wanted to harm people."

And on the other side, people were there to protest hatred, bias, and bigotry, said McAuliffe.

"They're two separate, entirely, groups," he said. "One was for uniting the country; the other was to harm it. The president needs to understand that."

The governor on Wednesday issued a statement calling for all monuments honoring Confederate soldiers to be taken down, but on Wednesday said the protests in Charlottesville were not really about the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

"These people that came here, they weren't here about a statue," said the governor. "They went to the University of Virginia on Friday night with their torches. That had nothing to do with the statues. There's hatred and bigotry that has been unleashed in this country. We need to understand what happened and move forward."

The monuments, however, are "divisive symbols" and should be removed, McAuliffe said.

"Several years ago I used executive authority to take the Confederate flag off of our license plates in Virginia," the governor said. "I don't have authority to do that with monuments. But I did say yesterday as my lieutenant governor did, it's time for these monuments to come down. It's time for us to move together after what happened in Charlottesville."

"I have lost three great citizens," said McAuliffe, referring to Heather Heyer, the woman who died after a car rammed into a group of counter protesters Saturday, and two Virginia State Police troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, who were killed in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville after they had been monitoring the protests from the air.

McAuliffe also said he was stunned by the things that were being said and done in Charlottesville.

"I have never seen the language and the things said about individuals, members of the African-American communities, members of the Jewish faith, LGBT community," said the governor. "I told them to go home. Let's be honest. We're moved forward."

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Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Thursday he does not want President Donald Trump to visit Charlottesville if he plans to make the kinds of statements about the violence in the community that he's made in the past few days.
terry mcauliffe, charlottesville, divisive, comments, donald trump
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2017-14-17
Thursday, 17 August 2017 09:14 AM
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