GOP rips Trump for blam­ing ‘many sides’

New York Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY RICH SCHAPIRO and TER­ENCE CULLEN

SEV­ERAL GOP sen­a­tors ripped into Pres­i­dent Trump Sat­ur­day af­ter he de­liv­ered a tepid state­ment on the vi­o­lence at a white su­prem­a­cist rally in Vir­ginia.

“Mr. Pres­i­dent — we must call evil by its name,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gard­ner tweeted. “These were white su­prem­a­cists and this was do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism.”

The Pres­i­dent, in an ad­dress at his golf club in Bed­min­ster, N.J., con­demned the blood­shed in Charlottesville — but did it by blam­ing “ha­tred, big­otry, and vi­o­lence on many sides.”

“The hate and the di­vi­sion must stop and must stop right now,” said Trump, adding, “we have to come to­gether as Amer­i­cans with love for our na­tion” and “true af­fec­tion for each other.”

The Pres­i­dent re­fused to men­tion by name the white na­tion­al­ists, Ku Klux Klan mem­bers or neo-Nazis blamed by state lead­ers for fo­ment­ing the vi­o­lence.

Sen. Marco Ru­bio of Florida was among a host of top Repub­li­cans who were quick to crit­i­cize the omis­sion. “Very im­por­tant for the na­tion to hear @po­tus de­scribe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror at­tack by #white­supremacists,” Ru­bio tweeted.

Utah Sen. Or­rin Hatch turned per­sonal in his dig on Trump. “We should call evil by its name,” Hatch tweeted. “My brother didn’t give his life fight­ing Hitler for Nazi ideas to go un­chal­lenged here at home.”

Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Chair­man Chuck Grass­ley of Iowa flatly stated that he be­lieved the pro­test­ers were en­gag­ing in home­grown ter­ror­ism. “What ‘White Na­tion­al­ists’ are do­ing in Charlottesville is home­grown ter­ror­ism that can’t be tol­er­ated any­more [than] what any ex­trem­ist does,” Grass­ley said.

Even New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, one of Trump’s most loyal sup­port­ers, joined the cho­rus. “We re­ject the racism and vi­o­lence of white na­tion­al­ists like the ones act­ing out in Charlottesville,” Christie said. “Ev­ery­one in lead­er­ship must speak out.”

Trump ad­dressed the Vir­ginia vi­o­lence at the start of a vet­er­ans’ event at his New Jer­sey golf club. Race-fu­eled vi­o­lence, Trump said, has “been go­ing on for a long time in our coun­try — not Don­ald Trump, not Barack Obama.”

The Pres­i­dent went on to oddly boast about strength of the econ­omy. “We have so many in­cred­i­ble things hap­pen­ing in our coun­try so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it’s very, very sad,” Trump said.

But for­mer KKK leader David Duke, who at­tended the rally, cited the Pres­i­dent as its in­spi­ra­tion Sat­ur­day.

The demon­stra­tion, he said, is “to ful­fill the prom­ises of Don­ald Trump.”

Later, Duke con­demned Trump’s luke­warm re­marks. “I would rec­om­mend you take a good look in the mir­ror & re­mem­ber it was White Amer­i­cans who put you in the pres­i­dency, not rad­i­cal left­ists,” Duke tweeted.

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