Bedminster, New Jersey: President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed “many sides” for the violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Virginia and contended that the “hatred and bigotry” broadcast across the country had taken root long before his political ascendancy.
Trump, on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, had intended to speak briefly at a ceremony marking the signing of bipartisan legislation to aid veterans, but he quickly found that those plans were overtaken by the escalating violence in Virginia.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” said Trump. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”
The president said that “what is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.”
Following Trump’s comment, several Republicans pushed for a more explicit denunciation of white supremacists.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner tweeted “Mr. President — we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wrote “Nothing patriotic about #Nazis, the #KKK or #WhiteSupremacists It’s the direct opposite of what #America seeks to be.”
And even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a staunch Trump supporter, wrote: “We reject the racism and violence of white nationalists like the ones acting out in Charlottesville. Everyone in leadership must speak out.”
Trump’s speech also drew praise from the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which wrote: “Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. ... No condemnation at all.”
Factbox: Ivanka decries Neo Nazis
US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka weighed in yesterday on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia with an appeal for unity, saying there was “no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis.”
Trump, who has a following among white supremacist groups attracted to his nationalistic rhetoric, has come under fire for blaming the Charlottesville violence on hatred and bigotry “on many sides.”
Ivanka Trump was more pointed in a tweet yesterday calling for unity.
“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis,” she said. “We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville.”