‘Big­otry and vi­o­lence on many sides’

Trump faulted for not ex­plic­itly re­buk­ing white su­prem­a­cists

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - BY JONATHAN LEMIRE

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is draw­ing crit­i­cism from Repub­li­cans and Democrats for not ex­plic­itly de­nounc­ing white su­prem­a­cists in the af­ter­math of vi­o­lent clashes in Vir­ginia, with law­mak­ers say­ing he needs to take a pub­lic stand against groups that es­pouse racism and hate.

Trump, while on a work­ing va­ca­tion at his New Jersey golf club, ad­dressed the na­tion Satur­day soon after a car plowed into a group of anti-racist counter-pro­test­ers in Char­lottesville, a college town where neo-Nazis and white na­tion­al­ists had as­sem­bled for march. The pres­i­dent did not sin­gle out any group, in­stead blam­ing “many sides’’ for the vi­o­lence.

“Hate and the di­vi­sion must stop, and must stop right now,’’ he said. “We have to come to­gether as Amer­i­cans with love for our na­tion and ... true af­fec­tion for each other.’’

Trump con­demned “in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms this egre­gious dis­play of ha­tred, big­otry and vi­o­lence on many sides, on many sides.’’ He added: “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.’’

On Sun­day, the White House is­sued a state­ment seek­ing to ex­pand on Trump’s re­marks:

“The pres­i­dent said very strongly in his state­ment yes­ter­day that he condemns all forms of vi­o­lence, big­otry and ha­tred and of course that in­cludes white Su­prem­a­cists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all ex­trem­ist groups,’’ ac­cord­ing to a White House spokesper­son. “He called for na­tional unity and bring­ing all Amer­i­cans to­gether.’’

The White House would not at­tach a staffer’s name to the state­ment.

The pres­i­dent on Satur­day did not an­swer ques­tions from re­porters about whether he re­jected the sup­port of white na­tion­al­ists or whether he be­lieved the car crash was an ex­am­ple of do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism. Aides who ap­peared on the Sun­day news shows said the White House did be­lieve those things, but many fel­low Repub­li­cans de­manded that Trump per­son­ally de­nounce the white su­prem­a­cists.

Sen. Cory Gard­ner, R-Colo., tweeted: “Mr. Pres­i­dent — we must call evil by its name. These were white su­prem­a­cists and this was do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism.’’

Added Sen. Marco Ru­bio, R-Fla.: “Noth­ing pa­tri­otic about #Nazis,the #KKK or #White­Supremacists It’s the di­rect op­po­site of what #America seeks to be.’’

GOP Chris Christie of New Jersey, 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.’’

On the Demo­crat side, Sen­ate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer of New York said “of course we con­demn ALL that hate stands for. Un­til ?POTUS specif­i­cally condemns alt-right ac­tion in Char­lottesville, he hasn’t done his job.’’

And Demo­cratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Vir­ginia, who spoke to Trump in the hours after the clashes, said he twice “said to him we have to stop this hate­ful speech, this rhetoric.’’ He urged Trump “to come out stronger’’ against the ac­tions of white su­prem­a­cists.

AP PHOTO

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump walks away after com­ment­ing on the on­go­ing sit­u­a­tion in Char­lottesville, Va., Satur­day, at Trump Na­tional Golf Club in Bed­min­ster, N.J.

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