Politicians Denounce Trump's Cowardly Charlottesville Response
On Saturday, President Trump delivered a speech addressing the violence that erupted at a far-right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, condemning the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides." Americans across the country were outraged by his failure to single out white supremacists in Charlottesville, including Democratic and Republican lawmakers who urged the president do so.
The rally became deadly after authorities reported that three people had been killed, including a woman who lost her life after a car plowed into a group of counter-protestors; two state troopers also died in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville, reportedly en route to the town. In his remarks delivered from Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump pointedly refused to condemn white supremacists, instead denouncing the "hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides."
Trump's remarks were roundly criticized by politicians for not explicitly mentioning and condemning the main organizers of the rally: far-right white nationalists. The backlash was swift and sound; even those in Trump's own Republican Party sternly rebuked him for his lackluster remarks. Critics urged him to strongly condemn white supremacists who claim they support him, and call the deadly violence in Charlottesville for what it is: domestic terrorism.
1. Sen. Cory Gardner
Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
Sen. Gardner of Colorado implored Trump to "call evil by its name" in his tweet. He went on to say that the marchers were white supremacists and that "this was domestic terrorism."
2. Sen. Orrin Hatch
We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) August 12, 2017
Sen. Hatch of Utah insisted to be explicit about calling "evil" by its name and mentioned his brother who died fighting against Nazis during WWII.
3. Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Rubio of Florida said that it was "very important" for the United States to hear Trump "describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists."
4. Former Vice President Joe Biden
Former Vice President Biden simply stated, "There is only one side."
5. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader Pelosi directly tweeted at Trump and said, "White supremacy is an affront to American values."
6. Sen. Dick Durbin
No, Mr. President, not "many sides." There is one side with nazi flags and nazi salutes. America is not on that side. https://t.co/sDpFC9buIz— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) August 12, 2017
Sen. Durbin of Illinois rejected Trump's phrase of "many sides" and said, "There is one side with Nazi flags and Nazi salutes."
7. Speaker Paul Ryan
Our hearts are with today's victims. White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 12, 2017
Speaker Ryan tweeted, "White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated."
8. Former President Bill Clinton
Even as we protect free speech and assembly, we must condemn hatred, violence and white supremacy. #Charlottesville— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) August 12, 2017
Former President Clinton tweeted that while protecting free speech was important, "we must condemn hatred, violence, and white supremacy."
9. Sen. Bernie Sanders
The white nationalist demonstration in #Charlottesville is a reprehensible display of racism and hatred that has no place in our society.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 12, 2017
Sen. Sanders of Vermont called the white supremacist rally a "reprehensible display of racism and hatred that has no place in our society."
10. Sen. Ted Cruz
Sen. Cruz of Texas issued a detailed statement on the violence in Charlottesville and urged that Department of Justice "to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism."
11. Sen. Tim Scott
Sen. Scott of South Carolina said that the "domestic terror" in Charlottesville had to be condemned or "hate is simply emboldened."
12. Sen. Chuck Schumer
March & rally in Charlottesville against everything the flag stands for. President Trump must condemn in strongest terms immediately.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 12, 2017
Sen. Schumer of New York urged Trump to condemn the rally in "strongest terms immediately."
13. GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
Free speech may give them the right to do this but also empowers us to unite to loudly speak out against it.— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 12, 2017
GOP chairwoman McDaniel said that marchers had the right to free speech but the same free speech "empowers us to unite to loudly speak out against it."
From the looks of the bipartisan condemnation of Trump's remarks, it is clear that politicians on both sides of America's political spectrum found the president's comments to be remarkably inadequate given the gravity of situation in Charlottesville.